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MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



VOL. II. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/memorialsofthoma21 hood 



MEMOmALS 



OP 



THOMAS HOOD. 



COLLECTED, AEKANGED, AND EDITED BY HIS DAUGHTER. 



k PREFACE AND NOTES BY HIS SON. 



ILLUSTRATED WITH COPIES FROM HIS OWN SKETCHES. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOLUME II. 



BOSTON: 
TIOKNOR AND FIELDS. 

M DCCC LX. 



COSSINGTON, BrIDGEWATER, EnG., 

June 5, 1860. 

Messrs. Ticknor and Fields, 
Boston, U. S. 
Gentlemen: — 

We grant you with pleasure all the right we can to reproduce 
the "Memorials" in the United States. In offering you the early 
sheets for republication, we wish you all success in the undertaking, 
and beg to sign ourselves, 

Yours, truly, 

THE CHILDREN OF THOMAS HOOD. 

(Frances Freeling Brodeeip.) 
(Thomas Hood.) 



University Press, Cambridge : 
Stereotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co. 



CONTENTS OF YOL. II. 



CHAPTER I. 



1839. 

PAGE 

At Ostend. — Visits England for a short time. — Letters to Mr. 
Wright and Lieut, de Franck. — Mrs. Hood visits England. — 
Letter to her. — Letters to Mr. Dilke and Dr. Elliot. — " Up the 
Rhine" published 1 



CHAPTER II. 



1840. 



At Ostend. — Letters to Dr. Elliot. — Goes to England. — Is taken 
seriously ill at Stratford. — Letters to his Wife. — Mrs. Hood 
joins him at Stratford. — Letter to Mr. Dilke. — Returns to Os- 
tend. — Final settlement in England, at Camberwell. — Mrs. 
Hood to Lieutenant de Franck. — Letter to Dr. Elliot. — Dis- 
covers the misconduct of his Publisher. — Commences a law- 
suit against him. — Engaged on The New Monthly. — " Miss 
Kilmansegg." 47 



CHAPTER III. 



1841. 



Camberwell. — Letter to Dr. and Mrs. Elliot. — "Eugene Aram" 
translated into German. — A copy sent to His Royal Highness 



vi 



CONTENTS. 



the Prince Consort with a Letter. — Letter to Lieutenant De 
Franck. — First Appearance of " Punch." — Call of a " Pious 
Lady. — " My Tract." — Mrs. Hood to ^Irs. Elliot. — Letters on 
the Subject of the " New Monthly." — He is appointed Editor on 
the Death of Theodore Hook 70 



CHAPTER IV. 

1842. 

Removed to St. John's "Wood. — Elm Tree Koad. — Letter to Lieut. 
De Franck. — Mrs. Hood to Lieut. De Franck. — Letters to Dr. 
and Mrs. Elliot, Mr. Charles Dickens, and Lieut. De Franck. — 
Continued Illness. 115 



CHAPTER V. 
1843. 

Elm Tree Road. — Letters to Mr. Broderip and Dr. Elliot. — Letter 
to the Secretaries of the Manchester Athenaeum. — Letter to Mr. 
Dickens. — Death of Elton, and Benefit at the Haymarket for the 
Family. — He writes an Address for it, to be spoken by Mrs. 
Warner. — Letters to Lieut. De Franck and Mr. Dickens. — He 
takes a Trip to Scotland. — Letters to his Wife. — Dundee and 
Edinburgh. — Letters to Mr. Dickens and Dr. Elliot. — " The 
Song of the Shirt." Punch." Pauper's Christmas Carol." 
— Prospectus of" Hood's Magazine and Comic Miscellany." . 135 



CHAPTER YI. 
1844. 

Removes to Devonshire Lodge, Finchley Road. — " Hood's Maga- 
zine." — Mrs. Hood to Dr. Elliot. — Hon. Member of the Graphic 
Club. — Letters to Mr. Phillips, Mr. Douglas, and Miss May Elliot. 



CONTENTS. 



vii 



— Difficulties ■with the Co-proprietor of the Magazine. — Letter 
to Dr. Elliot. — Mrs. Hood to Dr. Elliot. — Illness much increased. 

— Letters to Mr. Dickens, and Dr. Elliot's three Children. — Goes 
to Blackheath for two months to recruit his health. — Letters to 
Dr. Elliot and Mr. Phillips. — Second Letter to the Secretaries of 
the Manchester Athenaum. — Continual Illness. — Mrs. Hood 
to Lieut, de Franck. — " The Lay of the Labourer." — Letters 
to Dr. and Mrs. Elliot. — Letter from Dr. Elliot to Mrs. Hood, de- 
scribing her Husband's Illness. — The Pension. — Letter to Sir 
Eobert Peel. — Sir Robert Peel's Answer. — Letter to Dr. Elliot. 

— Letter from Sir Robert Peel and Answer. — Letters to Dr. 
Elliot 173 



CHAPTER YII. 
1845. 

Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Road. — Letter to Mr. Broderip. 

— Confined to his Bed by accumulating Illnesses. — The Bust 
and Portrait. — His Last Stanzas. — His Last Letter, addressed 
to Sir R. PeeL — Sir R. Peel's Answer. — His Last Illness. — 
Great Kindness and Attention from Strangers as well as Friends. 

— His Patience. — His Religious Sentiments. — Given over by 
his Physicians. — His Sufferings during his final Attack. — His 
Death.— His Funeral. — His WiU. . . . . . 226 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Public Subscription for the Erection of a Monument. — Inaugu- 
rated July, 1854. — Oration by Mr. Monckton Milnes . . . 250 



Literary Remains 



256 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



CHAPTER I. 

1839. 

At Ostend. — Visits England for a short time. — Letters to Mr. Wright 
and Lieut, de Franck. — Mrs. Hood visits England. — Letter to her. 
— Letters to Mr. Dilke and Dr. Elliot. — " Up the Rhine " published. 

IN the beginning of 1839, my father paid a short visit 
to England, making Mr. Dilke's house his quarters 
for the time being. The following was written in Lon- 
don just previous to his return to Ostend. 

Saturday. 

My dear Wright, 

You will be surprised to hear from me again ; but the 
weather and a bad cold made me resolve yesterday to go 
via Dover, besides preferring mail versus equinoctial gale. 
I shall go therefore Monday or Tuesday. Should the 
weather improve, I shall perhaps see you ere then. We 
ought to meet once more, at least, to settle the balance, 
and close the accounts up to Christmas, for good. 

I observe on referring to your last, you seem to blame 
me, and say, all might have been settled on Sunday, " if 

VOL. II. 1 



2 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



I had only done as you Avished." I do not know wliat 
you wished me to do ; but the result ought to convince 

you that B never had any serious intention of going 

on, or he would have been here, as he said he should, 
during the week, whereas he has never been near me ; 
so that in one sense, as you say, I have done nothing by 
coming to town, except arranging the accounts, and for 
which I ought not to have had to wait a single week, in- 
stead of three. In short I have been trifled with most 
abominably. However, you must acknowledge that it is 
no fault of mine if I and B have not gone on togeth- 
er. Between ourselves, I am convinced he wants money, 
and never contemplated any farther advance, or the pos- 
sibility of our going on, or he would at least have treated 
me with common civility by coming here. As for the 
" Hood's Own " account not affecting the question, I dis- 
agree with you, and think it does most essentially. I 
was extremely surprised, after hearing the assertion of 
£300 loss, to find only 6G, nearly 20 better than last 
account. Now it is my opinion, and also Dilke's, that it 
is yet a very good spec, and might reasonably be expect- 
ed to realise £ 200 or so, as a volume, if we were to give 
13 numbers, and I write a good spell for it with the 
autograph letters, &c. But that I cannot now answer 
for, as I must at once write for money, for my own need. 
By the bye, did you settle with the " Heads of the Peo- 
ple " publishers, or shall I write to them direct, to know 
the terms they propose ? 

Perhaps, if it improves, I shall see you to-morrow- 
I'am, dear Wright, 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



3 



The next letter was commenced at the end of the last, 
but was not concluded till the March of this year. 

EuE LoNGUE, OsTEXD, Chvistmas Day, 1838. 

" Tim," says he ! " hier ist ein brief mit my own hand 
geschrieben at last ! " " Time it was," says you, — and 
80 think I, considering our old comradeship ; but I am 
not going to plead guilty to wilful neglect, or malice pre- 
pense. You know how my time is divided, — first I am 
very ill, then very busy to make up for lost time, — and 
then in consequence very jaded and knocked-up, which 
ends generally in my being very ill again. Neither of 
the three moods is very favourable for writing long, 
cheerful, friendly letters ; ergo, you will conclude that I 
ana at this present writing neither ill, busy, nor very 
jaded, which is precisely the case. 

Your letter came while I was in bed, full of rising 
ambition, so I read it before I got up, — and how nicely 
the fellow timed it, thought I, to arrive on this very 
morning of all the days in the year! so I sit down to 
try whether I cannot hit you with mine on New Year's- 
day. You ^vill like to hear all about me, so I shall 
make myself Number One. In health I am better, and 
in better hope than of late, for a complete revolution has 
taken place in my views on the subject. Hang all Rhine- 
land, except a bit between Ehrenbreitstein and PfatFen- 

dorf, and all its doctors. Old S , the Catholic, I 

verily believe knew no more about the case than the 

Jew B , but he is more taken up with the sort of 

little Propaganda there is in Coblenz, for converting 
Protestants, and getting Roman Catholics to leave their 



4 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



property to the Church, and walking in Corpus Christi 
processions, than with medicine or its ministry. For I 
hear he is a notorious bigot even in Coblenz, and I hate 
all bigots. Catholic or Lutheran. He told me my com- 
plaint was in the lungs ; and I described the symptoms 
to Elliot, who rather concurred in his opinion, but of 
course from what he was told only, so I never touched 
wine, beer, or spirits, for several months, and in conse- 
quence ran it so fine, that on the journey here, when I 
got to Liege, I could scarcely speak. At Brussels I 
began to find out I had gone too far in my temperance, 
by the good effects of some bottled porter; and now 
here I am on a moderate allowance again, and even 
ordered to drink a little gin-and-water. So won't I toast 
you to-day, my old fellow, in a brimming bumper ! 

The doctor here is an experienced old English army 
surgeon, besides being used to London practice ; and he 
said from the first he could find no pulmonary symptoms 
about me. The truth is, my constitution is rallying, as 
the Prussians did after Quatre Bras, and is showing fight, 
the sea air and diet here being in my favour. You 
know what the Rhineland diet is, even at the best, while 
here we have meat quite as good as English, good white 
wheaten bread if anything better than EngHsh, and the 
very finest vegetables I ever saw. The consequence is I 
eat heartily good breakfasts, with fish, &c., and ample 
dinners : in fact, we have left off suppers simply from 
not caring about them in general. Sometimes we have 
a few oysters, and we eat shrimps, Tim, all the spring 
and summer through ! 

All this looks well, but by way of making surer, and 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



5 



for the sake of Elliot's advice, in which I have justly such 
confidence, I am on the point, Tim, of a visit to England, 
as Elliot's practice will not let him come to me. It must 
blow very great guns on Wednesday morning, or I leave 
this in the Dover mail on a flying visit to the glorious old 
island ! It is a rough season, and Jane is a wretched 
sailor ; and besides, cock and hen cannot both leave the 
nest and chicks at the same time, so I go solus. But she 
will go to see her mother, I expect, in the spring or the 
summer : for we have made up our minds to stay here 
another year, and perhaps two. It will be some time 
before I shall be strong enough to live a London life ; 
and being rather popular in that city, I cannot keep out 
of society and late hours. At all events I am close at 
hand if wanted for a new ministry. Jane says she 
should not like me to be a place-man, for fear of red 
spots. 

* * * * 

Since the above I have been to England. I spent 
there about three weeks, and am just returned, full of 
good news and spirits. Elliot came to me, and after a 
very careful examination, and sounding every inch of me 
by the ear, and by the stethoscope, declares my lungs 
perfectly sound, and the complaint is in the liver. He 
altogether coincides with my doctor here, both as to the 
case and its treatment, and my own feelings quite con- 
firmed their view ; so that at last I seem in the right 
road. But what long and precious time I have lost — I 
only wonder I have survived it ! You must be a great 
lump of sugar, indeed, to sweeten such Rhenish reflec- 
tions. The ignorant brutes ! 



6 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



The main reason why Elliot wanted to see me was be- 
cause tliis place would be bad for the lungs, but it quite 
suits the real case as I must have much air, and cannot 
walk or ride much, or exert myself bodily. So sea air 
is good, and sailing, my old amusement, Tim, at which I 
was an adept, and shall soon pick it up again. I mean 
therefore to sail, and fish for my own dinner. So I have 
made up my mind to stay here for one or two years to 
come. We like the place, though it is called dull by gay 
people and those in health. But that just suits me, who 
am not strong enough for society ; it is so near that those 
w^e care about do not mind coming, and as we have four 
posts a week, business goes on briskly. It is as good as 
English watering places in general, so I should gain 
nothing by going over. To tell the truth, I was not at 
all sorry to come back, for I have never been in bed be- 
fore one or two in the morning the last three weeks. Of 
course we are very happy, for my death-warrant w-as 
signed if such blood-spitting had been from the lungs : it 
is not dangerous in this case. 

Between friends and business I had a regular fag in 
London, for there were such arrears : for instance, among 
other things, all my accounts with my publishers for three 
years to go through. They turned out satisfactory, and 
besides established the fact, which is hardly conceivable 
by those who are experienced on the subject, that the 
" Comic " keeps up a steady sale, being, if anything, bet- 
ter than last year. All other annuals have died or are 
dying. Of course this is quite a literary triumph, and 
moreover I had to prepare a re-issue of all the old ones, 
which will come out monthly in future ; you shall have 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



7 



them when complete at the year's end. Moreover my 
German book is to come out in tlie course of the year. 
I send you proofs of some of the woodcuts which arc 
finished — you will recognise some of the portraits. Then 
I propose to begin a Child's Library,* so I have cut out 
plenty of work. 

We shall have plenty of visitors in the summer. How 
I wish it was not so far from Bromberg ! But we shall 
have railroads, and all the world will go this way to the 
Rhine instead of Rotterdam. It is a nice little kingdom, 
and I like the people ; they take very much to the Eng- 
lish, and adopt our customs and comforts, and almost 
universally speak our language in this part. So you see, 
had the Luxembourg affair come to a head, I must have 
wished you a good licking. What fun, if your 19 th had 
been ordered down, and you had been taken, Johnny, 
with me for your jailer, and answerable for your parole ! 

* Of all the projected works, which were never to be finished, I re- 
gret this most of all. My father had a knack of inventing children's 
stories, and was always a great favorite with little folk. There are 
many — not little folk now — who remember his gentleness and kind- 
ness in amusing them. He used to tell stories, illustrating them with 
sketches made as he told them — of these, alas, only the illustrations 
remain. With myself and my sister he was very fond of playing — 
suggested games to us, and pointed out the " properties " that would 
suit them. He was very fond of Dr. Elliot's children, to whom he 
frequently wrote, and sent paper animals, etc., cut out very cleverly. 
During his last illness a very beautiful miniature of four of these little 
favorites lay on his bed, and he used to take much pleasure in contem- 
plating it. Some letters, in another part of this work, written to them, 
will prove how well he would have written such a Child's Library as 
he here s.peaks of. Critics, in reviewing " Precocious Piggy," have 
remarked how capitally its metre and rhyme are adapted for nursery 
memories. — T. H. 



8 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



As to the Cologne affair, I think your king is perfectly 
right. Fair play is a jewel, and an agreement is an 
agreement ; but he is placed in a critical position, very 
— at all events a very troublesome one. It quite agrees 
with my prophecies. You know I don't meddle in poli- 
tics, but I will give you my view of affairs. There will 
be a row in Hanover : it will not suit your king to have 
popular commotions so near home, so he will interfere to 
put it down, and finally hold Hanover for himself. Then 
as to Luxembourg, the French long to pay off the old 
grudge on you Prussians. If you should get a beating 
at the beginning, I should fear Catholic (French in heart) 
Rhineland will rise ; but if you Prussians like, you will 
keep Luxembourg to repay you for defending it for the 
Dutch. So the best thing for all parties is to keep the 
peace ; and whatever you hot-headed young soldiers may 
wish, I think your king's prudence will keep us from 
war : and so long life to him ! As for England, we Lib- 
erals must beat sooner or later; the money and commerce 
interests will beat the landed, who have too long had it 
their own way ; and then no more corn-laws ! * Then 
if you Prussians be wise, you will encourage free-trade, 
and take our manufactures for your timber and corn, 
whereby we shall both profit. 

But you abroad have a plan, on the supposition that 
the Tories will come again into power — so they may, 
but will never keep it, nor the Whigs either; there is a 
third party, not Radicals, but a national one, will and 
must rule at last, for the general, and not private, in- 

* It will be observed (at page 173, Vol. L, for example) that at 
times my father's prophecies Avere marvellously correct. — T. H. 



MEMOEIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



9 



terests. I do not meddle, but look on, and see it quietly 
getting onwards towards a consummation so devoutly to 
be wished for. 

Leopold, whatever you may hear, is popular, and justly 
so, in this country, which is a more wealthy one than is 
generally supposed. 

Bruges is a delightful little city, for any one with an 
artist's eye. It is only fourteen miles off, and you can 
get there by the barge for a franc and a half It is quite 
a gem in its way. 

By the bye, I am going to try to paint a bit in oil : * 
the artist, who took my portrait, has set me up for ma- 
teriel. He has taken an excellent likeness of me, which 
is going to be engraved for the re-issue, so that I shall 
be able to send you a copy of my copy. Jane is quite 
satisfied with it, which is saying all in its favour. I am 
going to try to pamt Tom's likeness, as we have Fanny's 

* This idea was not, I believe, put in operation till many years later 
in England. We possess a most curious and effective oil-painting in 
brown and white — oil-sepia painting, so to speak — that suggested 
" The Lee Shore." The fisherman's cottage in the back-ground, with 
its lighted window, under a straggling moon, and a huge wave filling 
up the foreground, foam-crested, and in the centre a great gull flap- 
ping its white wings. This I held to be the ghost of the drowned 
seaman, at my father's prompting, who signed it — "The Seaman's 
Dream." We have too the unfinished sketch in oils of a group illus- 
trative of a poem, to be called, " Death and the Little Girl." The 
picture represents the conventional Death, with a child sitting on his 
knee in a churchyard. The sketch of the poem, as I recollect it, was, 
that the child, crossing the churchyard, fell in with a stranger, who 
convei'sed so pleasantly with her that she was induced to bring him 
(Death) home, where her sick father was lying. The outlines of the 
painting and poem are all I can give. How the master-hand would 
have filled them in, is not to be solved here. — T. H. 
1* 



10 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



already. As I know nothing of the rudiments I expect 
to make some awful daubs at first, — may I say, like 
Miss A 's ? 

Jane told you of some articles I have written for a 
sporting-book, but we are not able to get the letter-press. 
The plates you will receive next parcel as a present from 
Jane. They are very good, and I know they will hit 
your taste. The plates I wrote to were the donkey-race, 
and of course the fishing. When I was in London I 
learned that Bond, our tackle-maker, has just wound up 
his line of life, leaving a good sum behind him. I in- 
quired if there is extra strong tackle ; so let me knoAV 
what you want directly, and all shall come to you in one 
parcel, " Comic," sporting-plates, and all. You are at a 
distance that makes me cautious of carriage, or I would 
send the latter articles now. 

I sent a " Comic " to the Prince, via Hamburg, in a 
parcel of Count Raczinski's, or some such name, — the 
same who is publishing a gallery of German art. 

You talk of my having " a box out in the spring ! " 
Why, man alive ! the stewardess of our London packet 
fetches and carries like a spaniel every week between me 
and my publisher. Your lost gorge-hook tickled me as 
much as it poked its fun into you. You must have rare 
sport, and of course do not regret the Rhine, Moselle, and 
Lahn. Do you ever 'drop in now ? I should like to 
Brake my tackle with some of your large fish ; but I am 
a prematurely old man, Tim, and past travelling, except 
on a short stage. I had fears I should perhaps disgrace 
my seamanship by being sea-sick, my stomach having 
become so deranged, but I held out ; to be sure I had 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



11 



fine passages, although one fellow, a fox-hunter, was very 
ill. England seemed much the same as when I left it, 
but I was astonished by some of the hotel charges on the 
road being positively less than on the Rhine. The Dilkes 
dined with me ; he is as well as ever, and they all desired 
their kind remembrances to " Mr. Franks." 

I heard a good deal of H. . He is still a 

bachelor, with about £13,000 a-year, — a nice sum, Tim, 
— and he will be richer. He spends it, however, like a 
good old English gentleman ; keeps hounds, is very 
liberal to the poor, and is very much liked about the 
neighbourhood of . 

Old H is still dying. He sometimes gets my 

friend W to write at his dictation to Kichard D , 

when he is on a journey, in this style : " Dear Rich- 
ard — By the time you receive this, your poor brother 

will be no more. I died about noon on ," and then 

W — — breaks in, " Why, my dear sir, but you are not 
going so soon ? " " Ah, so you think, but a pretty set of 
fools you will look when you see the shutters up. Send 

for Dr. S directly ! " And so forth ; and in an hour 

or two afterwards, he is in his chaise at a coursing 

meeting ! * It is quite a farce, and W imitates 

him capitally. Now I do verily believe that I am only 
alive, on the contrary, through never giving up. With 

* This gentleman is evidently the original of a character in " Up 
the Rhine," wherein he figures somewhat in the style of" Mr. Bram- 
ble" in " Humphrey Clinker." I believe one secret of the success of 
my father's humorous writing Avas, that he read " Humphrey Clink- 
er," " Tristram Shandy," and " Tom Jones," and caught their style, 
without catching that something far more infectious, which occasion- 
ally breaks out in their admirers. — T. H. 



12 



MEMOEIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Buch a wife to tease, and such children to tease me, I do 
not get so weary of life as some other people might — 
Lieutenants at Bromberg, for instance, in time of peace. 
Moreover, I am of some slender use. In the spring I 
wrote and published three letters on the state of the Law 
of Copyright, which made a stir in the literary world of 
London, and an M. P. borrowed my ideas and made a 
flourish with them in the House. Moreover, a fellow 
attacked me and some others for our infidelity, &c., where- 
upon I took up the cudgels in a long poem, which 
delighted an old gentleman so much that he called it 
" Hood 's Sermon ! " * You will hear of me next in 
orders, as the Rev. Dr. Johnny. 

As for the " Comic," I did it this year with such ease, 
and at such a gallop, that I sent MSS. faster than they 
could acknowledge the receipt thereof. I never did it so 
easily before. The fact is, provided my health should 
clear up, and I get strong, I am but beginning my career. 
For the fun of the thing I must tell you that there has 
been a short memoir of me published. You will judge 
how well the author knows me when he says " we be- 
lieve his mind to be more serious than comic, we have 
never known him laugh heartily either in company or in 
rhyme." But my methodist face took him in, for he says, 
" the countenance of Mr. Hood is more solemn than 
merry." The rest is a great deal handsomer than I de- 
serve, and a proof how unfounded the notion is of envy 
and spite among literary men-t 

The " Ode to Rae Wilson." — T. H. 
t My father seems to have been " almost persuaded," by the popu- 
lar demand on him for fun rather than serious -writing, that he was 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



13 



And now I think I have told you everytliing about 
myself. Jenny is as thin as she has been for a long 
lime ; my last illness frightened her ; indeed we have 
both had a fear we kept to ourselves, but of course she 
will now laugh and get fat. There is a treat too in store 
for her, for when the weather is fine enough she is going 
over to see her family, three years' absence is a trial to 
such a heart as hers. Luckily, she has no longer the 
dinner anxieties, and the wish and prayer for a " new 
animal " that so worried her in Coblenz ! I oret nothinjir 
now that I cannot eat, and as to drink, I am quite a Tem- 
perance Society, though I am now allowed a little wine. 
To be sure she still sticks to her old fault of going to 
sleep while I am dictating, till I vow to change my 
womanuensis for amanuensis. And moreover she took 
the opportunity during my absence of buying a plaice 
with red spots — could not eat it after all — Verdict, 
" Sarve her right," when we can get plenty of turbot. 
Do you know one of our first freaks on coming here ? 
There is a little library two doors off, and we sat down 
and read all its stock of books slap through. The bill 
came in. " To reading 155 volumes — francs !" 

Don't you wish you had been one of the fra?ics, as you 

not possessed of a serious, as well as a comic, Vein, /fancy the latter 
was more of an Art-ery than the former — witness " The Bridge of 
Sighs," and " The Lay of the Labourer." My father's testimony to 
the real good-feeling between men of letters came from his heart I 
know. I do not think he had an enemy, although the line of some 
■\vi-iters was repugnant to him. I am glad to believe that the same 
fellowship among men of letters continues to this day, although here 
and there a lower animal makes himself obnoxious by yelping at the 
heels of one of our great writers. — T. H. 



14 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



complain so of want of reading ? "We get newspapers, 
but have no society, save what we import, such as the 
Dilkes. There are lots of English here, but many of 
them outlaws ; this is like Calais, Boulogne, &c., being a 
sort of city of refuge for gentlemen who won't or can't 
pay their debts. 

We have plenty of military, and are consequently 
treated with abundance of duels. 

Our doctor knows and tells us all the news and scandal 
of the place. Fanny has been at a day school, but we 
have taken her home again, as she was being taught 
French in French, and consequently learnt nothing but 
an unknown tongue. I wish you could see Tom ; to- 
morrow is his birthday (Jan. 19th), and he will " take his 
tlireer * He is very good-hearted and affectionate also, 
and quite a young " Comic " for fun and droll mischief. 
He has a famous notion of drawing for such a shrimp, 
and the other day came with his thumb and finger opened 
like a pair of compasses to measure his ma's nose to take 
her portrait. He is as strong too as a little horse, and 
always well. He makes us roar sometimes with his imi- 
tations ; but one the other night was beautiful. He saw 
Fanny at her prayers, quietly slipped away, knelt down 
by his bed, clasped his little hands, and said gravely, 
" My love to pa, and my love to ma, and all my friends in 
England." 

I wish it might please one of the Princes to want a 
companion in a trip to England via Ostend, that you 

* An allusion to the old three-handed cribbage at Coblenz, for 
which tmth suffered — I was four. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



15 



misrht see us all. I think we are set in here for at least 
another year. 

It must be something very tempting to make me go to 
London as yet ; it would kill me in a month. Indeed I 
am better already for being back. Even the pleasure is 
bad for me, as all excitement tends to urge the circulation, 
and cause palpitation. What do you think, Tim ! Dr. 
Elliot says that my heart is rather lower hung than usual ; 
but never mind, you shall always find it in the right place. 

Tim, says he, tell me in your next all about my 
brothers in arms, — I guess I puzzle some people here 
with my Prussian officer's cloak ! Suppose they seize 
me for a Luxembourg spy ! But apropos to my old 
comrades, who does not remember Wildegans, * himself 
excepted ? I saw some very long lines of his family 
flying southwards over the sea some two months back, 
and prophesied (and it is come true) some severe weather. 
Does he still feel kindly towards us, or have they cut off 
his breast, heart and all, to smoke, as they do thereabouts ? 
Does he sometimes drink our health in the waters of ob- 
livion ? I am wicked enough to enjoy his being put over 

* Poor Wildegans, as some of our readers must have concluded 
already, "was troubled with a short memory, an absence of mind — 
and an abundance of " chaff" in consequence. On one occasion, at 
Coblenz, Franck could not find his sword to go to parade. What was 
to be done ! The bugle was sounding ! — when he chanced to look 
out of his window, and saw the solemn Wildegans marching off with 
two swords, one on each side ? On another occasion, soon after the 
breakup of the frost (during which the bridge of boats is removed), he 
was found, pacing up and down, before the restored bridge, waiting 
for the ferryboat to take him over to Ehrenbreitstein. I need hardly 
say, his name Anglicised is Wildgoose, whence the German nickname, 
Ganserich (goosey) given him by his brother officers. — T. H. 



16 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



your head after all your tricks upon him ; so pray congrat- 
ulate him on his promotion. "We remembered him at 
Christmas, over our pudding ; Jane wished you both a 
slice, and I wished you a skewer. I suspect you do not often 
see " Carlo," but give our kind remembrances when you 
meet ; also to " Von Heugel," and " Von Bontonkonkow- 
ski," as Jane says when she attempts his name. That 
march is often a march of mind in my memory, and I am 
again at the Burgomaster's, or at Wittenberg, or Schlunk- 
endorf, not forgetting the Chateau and the jack-fishing. 
I do hope my kind captain is as well as when he over- 
looked our sport from the window. 

I have taken him of the nose, at his word, and drawn 
him. I think the sketches will prove how vividly I have 
remembered that frolic. I have made some of my friends 
laugh over it in description. I do not like to ask who 
may be gone, like the poor Major ! You must not forget 
my respects to the Colonel. 

I fear to ask about the translation of "Eugene Aram;" 
it was in the most difficult style possible to translate into 
German ; plain, almost Quaker-like ; whereas the Ger- 
man poetical style is flowery almost to excess. We are 
suffering from quite Bromberg weather here ; it is like 
our first winter at Coblenz. 

On resuming my letter this morning, I found my ink 
friz in the stand. But we have good coal fires and 
grates, though I almost scorch myself in getting warm. 
I told you of two children being frozen here, and this 
morning I heard that three more, all in the same bed, 
have been frozen to death at Bruges. I suppose, poor 
things, they have only an " ofen," not a grate. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



17 



I do not approve of your Private Plays. Officers 
ought not to be privates : but perhaps you play in such a 
style, that the privater the better. Of course mein Ueh- 
freund Wildegans bothers the prompter. I would give 
a trifle to be within a hiss of your performance, to see 
how fiercely you would curl those moustaches of yours, 
which the Prince so properly made you dock. Jane and 
I agree, that in a sentimental, heroical, tearing, German 
part, you would be capital, remembering what a fine pas- 
sion you were in once with Miss A. and at me and Wild- 
egans. 

Jane and I try to fancy a performance something 
as follows: — A house, pretty Avell hghted up, but with 
something of the look of a riding-school. In the centre 
box a stiff old governor, like a soldier preserved in ice. 
About seventeen ladies, in plenty of fur, and with rather 
blue noses, attended by fifty-one officers, twenty-five of 
them all in love with the same face. No gallery, but a 
pit full of fellows with a bit of yellow on their collars, 
and a fugleman, that they may applaud in the right 
places. Scene — the Brake ; a gentleman fishing. Then 
enter a lady — to commit suicide by drowning. The 
angler humanely dissuades her, because she would 
frighten the fish, and they fall into argument on the 
romantic idea of suicide. The angler becomes enam- 
oured, and requests the lady to hold his rod, while he 
kneels down and lays his hand on his heart. He pro- 
tests he never was in love but seven times before, but 
had often been fallen in love with. The lady listens, 
and seems not averse to the match ; but in striking awk- 

B 



18 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



wardly at a salmon, she snaps the top joint, and that 
breaks off everything. 

Scene the second. The angler in his room smoking. 
A friend comes in, takes down a pipe from the wall, and 
smokes in company. 

Scene the third. A pathetic interview between a lady 
and a lover with two swords on : she asks him if " he can 
ever forget her ? " and he answers " yes." 

Scene the fourth. A duel between the angler and his 
best friend, because the lady had broken his rod. They 
are parted by the lady's mother, who asks the angler 
to dinner, and promises him more brawn than she can 
eat. 

Scene the fifth. A ball, with only one gentleman who 
can dance. He waltzes with them all in turn, and then 
drops down a corpse. 

Scene the sixth. The ghost of the dancing gentleman 
appears : he forgets that he is dead, and is fetched by 
three little black boys with horns and long tails. 

Scene the seventh. The angler at dinner with the old 
lady and the brawn. The old lady seems to admire him, 
and says " he has good teeth ! " 

Scene the eighth. A gentleman comes on to sing a 
song, but can 't, because he has parted with his " helhr * 

* This was Carlovicz, who gave me a little spaniel called Bello, 
mentioned in earlier letters. The two swords point to the forgetful 
Wildegans. Scene the tenth, refers to the ill luck of Franck, whose 
juniors were always being promoted over his head, probably owing to 
his not having, as an Englishman, any interest at Head Quarters. 
Scene the seventh, refers to an old story invented about the time of 
the " beef jam." It was something about an old lady, with imperfect 
organs of mastication, some tough brawn, and a young lieutenant with 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



19 



Scene the ninth. The Brake. The lady and the 
angler meet by appointment. He offers her his heart and 
a fine salmon, and she accepts the salmon. 

Scene the tenth. A lieutenant in a rage because he is 
not a captain. He throws a set of somersets in trying to 
promote himself over his own head. 

Scene the eleventh. The nine o'clock trumpet, and 
the play is snapped off like the top joint. The angler 
very crusty, because there was an embrace in scene 
twelve, and the young lady to be in love with him. 

Talking of love, just imagine the following little dia- 
logue after reading your last letter : 

" I wonder," said Jane, " if he has ever lost his heart 
again ? " 

" I don't know," says I ; " but he complains he has lost 
some lengths of his line." 

The salmon that won't take a bait must be a puzzler. 
My doctor is an Irishman, and if I see him before I 
close this, I will ask him if he knows anything on the 
subject. You know they have salmon in the Liffey, and 
many other rivers. 

So you see I was right, after all, about the beavers in 
Germany — they are otters ! But what a goose you are 
to shoot them ! Otter hunting is capital sport, I believe, 
with dogs and spears. There is an account of it in one 
of Scott's novels — I think in " Rob Roy." So there is 
a new variety of sport open to you. I will see if I can 
get any information about that, too. In the meantime, 

irreproachable ivory. With the addition that "what yoii chews!" 
was the point of the story, I leave my readers to fill up the details as 
they choose. — T. H. 



20 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



whenever you write, do not fail to give me any anecdotes 
as to fishes, fishing, or sporting in general, as well as any 
new jokes of your locality. 

"Whilst I was in London, the Royal Exchange was 
burnt down to the ground. A great sensation was caused 
amongst the spectators by the chimes in the tower of the 
Exchange striking up in the midst of the flames with the 
very appropriate air of " There 's nae luck about the 
House." To make the coincidence more curious, there 
are half a dozen other tunes they play by turns through 
the week. 

I hope the bank will take no advantage of it when 
people go there for money, for the cashiers might now 
say, " We have got no Change." Another practical 
joke was, that Wilson, the Radical bookseller, was the 
only Conservative, his shop being the only one that was 
at all left standing. 

Sad news from Canada of revolt and fighting. I 
earnestly hope that a timely redress of grievances, and 
they seem to have some, will prevent a struggle that 
would end, like the American war, in their loss to Eng- 
land. The Spaniards seem to have acted like all other 
foreign states towards England, when money was con- 
cerned, — the legion broken up for want of pay, which 
the Spanish Government coolly cheats them of. That 
massacre of English prisoners by the Carlists was a bru- 
tal affair. When we came here we travelled with a very 
nice, gentlemanly, elderly Irishman, whom we hked very 
much, and he took very much to us. I found out that 
he was a Catholic priest, very high in the Irish church. 
He had been to Rome, and spoke with disgust of the 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



21 



little that religion had to do with the civil wars in Spain 
— that it was purely political, and, in fact, Protestant 
princes patronised the Carlists. Ainsi va le monde! 
And I am very glad that I have had nothing to do with 
politics, though they try hard to identify me with some 
party or other. So, as I am no " sidesman," but only a 
"merrythought," the leading reviews, Whig and Tory, 
have carefully abstained from noticing me or my works. 
This is funny enough in professedly literary reviews, and 
shows they are practically political ones. And the result 
is, I am going, I understand, to be reviewed by the Rad- 
ical review, and, I hear, favourably. 

Some weeks ago some fellow or other on the Tory 
side wrote a poem against the ministry, and forged 
my name to it, and I had a skirmish on the subject. 
The fact is there is a set, who try to write down 
and libel all who are not Tories, neutrals like myself 
included ; it is too bad, but they will sink of themselves 
at last from sheer want of character and principle. I 
am not afraid of them, and do not think they will care 
to attack me, as I am apt to get the laugh on my side. 
I was the more annoyed at the forgery, because it was 
addressed to the Queen. Are we not in luck, Tim, 
to have such a nice young girl to be loyal to; she is 
very popular, and does good by frequenting the theatres, 
&c. Her mother is very much respected, and has done 
her duty both to her daughter and to the nation, in a 
manner that deserves a statue at the hands of the Eng- 
lish ladies. But I must pull up or I shall have no 
room for the messages. Tom sends his love to " Fank, 
Vildidans, Tarlevitch, and TowskI ; " Fanny joins in 



22 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



chorus ; and Jane sends her kindest regards, and says 
she has no chance of learning French here, there is so 
much English. Tliere is plenty of Flemish too, but 
I can't leam it; and so must tell you in the mother 
tongue, that I am, my dear Franck, your friend ever, 
and in all sincerity, to the end of the line, and without 
a week length in it, 

Thomas, Tim, Johnny Hood. 

P. S. Should you see " Hood's Own " advertised in 
any of the northern papers, it is not my wife, but the 
re-issue of the " Comic." It is intended to be sent 
into Germany, as it will be as cheap as foreign editions. 
I will send you the inscriptions you desire in the parcel. 
When you write to the Princes, pray make my respects 
to them. I am very glad Prince Czartoriski had such 
sport, but you are all well off in that particular — 
whereas, in Britain, we have fished at them, till fish are 
scarce and shy. There is perch-fishing to be had here 
in the moat, and, I should think, jack somewhere in 
the cuts from the canals. I shall try next summer, 
and also at the sea fish, as a pot-hunter. There are 
good turbot and capital John Dory off the coast, and, 
I suspect, smelts in the harbour; they do angle for 
flounders a little. What is that fish you tell me of 
with a nob on his nose? Send me the German name 
if you know it. And what fish is a loeW^ I can't 
find it in the dictionary — a sort of sturgeon, perhaps. 
Many thanks for the Lieder Buch. We have had a 
good laugh over " Ach Gretel mein taubchen" Tom took 
a fancy to it at first, and used to sing it. Hon. Dr. 
Weiterhauser would stare to see my use of it! 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



23 



What will you poor Germans do for victuals and 
drink ? First, the doctors found out that your wurst was 
a slow — no, active poison ; and now a Diisseldorf chem- 
ist discovers that all your " schnaps " and liqueurs are 
deleterious, from being made from bad potatoes. Then 
the Westminster Medical Society has proved that your 
German candles are arsenicated and poisonous ; and 
were there not edicts against your painted sugar-plums 
that poisoned the children ? Not that I should care if all 
the Rhinelanders poisoned themselves or each other ; 
they are not fit for their beautiful country ; but I should 
not like it to spread further, as I like the other cousins, 
for example the Saxons. In justice to myself, I must 
say we have heard several English speak in our own 
style of Rhenish diet and the people ; but they are not 
true Germans, only mongrels. 

And now, Tim, have I not written you a long letter at 
all events ? It will be as good as extra drill to read it 
all through at once. I fear I shall not soon be able to 
write so amply again, for I have great arrears of work, 
and shall be as busy in my little bureau as a Prime 
Minister, or at least a Secretary for the Home Depart- 
ment. 

Our severe weather continues ; we all but stir the fire 
with our noses, and sweep the hearths with our shoes. I 
wish you would keep your own sort of winter at Brom- 
berg ; you are used to it, but I am not, and am sitting in 
the house in my snow shoes. 

Now then farewell, Tim. God bless you, and may 
you have good luck even in fishing. Take care of your 
liver, my old boy, in peace-time, and in war-time of your 



24 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 

bacon ; and always take a spare pair of breeches with 
you to the Brake for fear of falling in ! Should you 
ever have thoughts of marrying, let me know, and I will 
give you some good advice. I have strong misgivings 
that those private theatricals will lead to something of 
that sort. As the children say, " you may begin to play, 
and end in earnest." Perhaps, whilst I write, the knot is 
tied, and you are in the honeymoon with it all running 
down your moustache ! For anything I know, Carlo and 
Bonkowski have written to me to use my influence to 
prevent your chucking yourself away. I will go and 
get them translated to-morrow, and then perhaps you 
will hear from me again. You were always dying 
for somebody ; but " Philip ! remember thou art mor- 
tal'!" 

I have just heard that the London Packet (not a mail) 
is gone ashore. I wish she was wrecked at once, she is 
such a wretched craft. My portrait-painter was three 
days in coming over here — besides, I hate her very 
name, for reminding me of my own unseaworthiness, the 
X^rer-pool ! Whilst I was in London, all of a sudden 
there broke out here in Ostend, several attempts at rob- 
bery, that quite alarmed our quietude. A servant girl 
was knocked all down stairs by a fellow secreted in a 
room above. At Bruges there were several other at- 
tempts ; some fellows, I suppose, from London or Paris. 
I have accordingly put night caps on my detonators, and 
I- believe we have an extra military patrol. I wish they 
would rob me of my liver complaint : I would not prose- 
cute. Good-bye for the last time ; this is the end of my 
news, till we grow some more. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 25 



39, Rue Longue, Ostend, March 16, 1839. 

My dear Wright, 

I was very glad to have a few lines from you of cheer- 
ing import, of which I have much need. I never had so 
little alacrity of body or mind, but you need never urge 
me, for it is only needlessly spurring a willing horse ; I 
only wish that my power equalled my wish, but I have 
been almost " lower than plummet e'er did sound," — 
like the weather, far below zero. I am now better, but 
by means so foreign to my recent habits, that like the 
little old woman I can hardly believe that I is I, for by 
medical advice I am drinking port wine daily. I am 
glad you like the Grimaldi cut, as I did myself, and 
I shall do as much as I can in that style, as I prefer it, 
and it is less trouble when I can do it. 

But I am not always in the cue ; I have found more 
difficulty in inventing than in executing, my state allow- 
ing of the mechanical, but not of the imaginative ; yet I 
have had some gleams. By the Stewardess you will 
receive another cut and tail-piece, the subject Female 
Spouting; I think I shall be able to make a pleasant 
paper too on Grimaldi, an " Ode to Murphy, or Moore's 
Ghost," and the " Bury Book." Be satisfied that for my 
own sake I will do all I can, and supposing you can wait 
till Monday, I do not despair of doing something worth 
while. In the meantime I will give you a selection to 
set up in type as before. 

I am glad you are not out of heart, as I am not ; there 
has been hardly time to get the thing well, i. e. univer- 
sally known, and from this point it will go on improving, 
as I shall myself in health. By the bye, as an instance 

VOL. II. 2 



26 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



of a curious faculty I seem to possess, that I can hit off a 
likeness afterwards, though not if a person were to sit to 
me, I made such a * resemblance of our servant's face 
when Grimaldi called, that Jane recognised it, but unfor- 
tunately I blotted it out accidentally with a drop of ink, 
and could not get it again. 

Thank goodness the weather is better, and I can, and 
do, get out; I am mending, and hope to rattle oflf the 
next No. as I did the " Comic." Why don't you come 
here instead of going to Cheshunt, and we will take a 
trip to Bruges ? Take care of yourself. I am vexed to 
trouble you so, but it won't last long. 

I am, my dear Wright, 

Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Apropos — I want to patronise a poor self-taught 
wood-cutter here, in a very humble line ; he only cuts 

* Besides this likeness, my father in " Up the Rhine," in the cut of 
" A Spare Bed," achieved a very good caricature of Mr. Dilke, who 
•was as much amused at it as my father. He was often lucky in this 
way. Apropos of a pencil sketch of De Quincey, who died last year 
— the last, I believe, of the " Old London" contributors — he says, 
" Unable to make anything ' like a likeness ' of a sitter for the purpose, 
I have a sort of Irish faculty for taking faces behind their backs. But 
my pencil has not been guilty of half the personalities attributed to 
it ; amongst others, of a formidable likeness of a ' Lombard Street 
Banker.' Besides that one would rather draw on a banker than at him, 
I have never seen the gentleman alluded to, or even a portrait of him, 
in my life." This was Rogers, and the picture was in " Whims and 
Oddities," but in other instances my father often hit off fair resem- 
blances of persons he did not know, and seemed, in "drawing " from 
fancy, to have hit on a well, where Truth happened to be found. — 
T. H. 



MEMOKIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



27 



butter stamps and moulds for ginger-bread; but when 
you send a parcel, if you have any worn out gravers or 
tools it would be a charity. 

This last little trait of kindness is one of many un- 
known acts of a similar description performed by my 
father m an unostentatious Christian charity, which 
might have been with advantage imitated by some, who 
were, in their denunciation of him, as noisy as the trum- 
pets they blew before them every time they " did an 
alms." 

39, EuE LoNGUE, OsTEND, Marck 31, 1839. 

My dear Doctor, 

I fully intended to have had the happiness of spending 
an evening at Stratford before my departure from Lon- 
don, but thanks to a number of vexatious and unjustifia- 
ble delays in business, I was at last obliged to cut and 
run to save time, leaving all the pleasures I had prom- 
ised myself to the future. 

For instance, I longed to see all your children, but I 
fear now they will all be a year older should I meet 
them. But it was very kind of you to come to Pimlico ; 
and I rejoice at it, as I think you and Dilke will know 
and like each other. Pray tell Mrs. Elliot that I ac- 
knowledge my debt, and owing her a visit, will pay it 
for my own sake the very first opportunity. 

I was fortunate in a very fine passage across, but have 
been very poorly since my return ; the voyage to Lon- 
don did me very great good, so much so that my foot 
healed two or three days after my arrival. But — I 
need not tell you how — I was well worried when in 



28 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



town (all booksellers are alike), and my foot got worse, 
and at this present writing is as bad, or nearly, as ever ; 
my great anxiety to get my foot healed is for the sake of 
air and exercise, and besides I shall have to work pretty 
hard ere Midsummer. Unluckily we have such a bad 
coast, bad boats, and bad boatmen, I cannot sail ; but I 
mean to take a trip to Dover and back now and then, or 
perhaps to Havre, as there is a boat from here just 
begun running. Poor Jane has not been very well 
through fatigue and anxiety ; Fanny is pretty well, but 
Tom has been troubled a little in cutting his back teeth. 

He was very delighted to see me back, but I suppose 
I did not romp with him quite equal to his expectations, 
for after a day or two, as I was sitting reading, he said 
with an arch look at his mother, " I do wish my pa would 
come home." 

I w^as a good deal fatigued by my night journey in the 
Dover mail, and no doubt looked invalid enough. So 
the cabin boy placed a basin at my feet at starting, and I 
caught him watching me intently throughout the passage, 
evidently not a little wondering that only " the sick gen- 
tleman " would n't be sick. To make the case more 
marked, a very fierce looking foreign officer, well mous- 
tached, was pitiably " reduced to the lowest terras," and 
had all the fight, as well as everything else, taken out of 
him. These are strange constitutional differences — my 
own viscera, for instance, have been so long deranged, 
I cannot imagine how they could be proof against the 
malady. By the bye, did I ever tell you of my Italian 
teacher at Coblenz, and his emetic ? He took it over 
night, but after an hour or so, feeling very comfortable, 



mp:morials of thomas hood. 



29 



he began to get very uncomfortable, so he drank a quan- 
tity of tea which staid with the emetic ; still more un- 
comfortable because he was so comfortable, he then took 
warm water at intervals which made him as comfortably 
uncomfortable as ever. 

Then, getting a little nervous, he took some wine. No 
discomfort, except the comfort. Then warm water again. 
Still only mentally uncomfortable, till finally, having spent 
the night in this manner, he comfortably took his break- 
fast, which acted as the sailors say, " like a stopper over 
all." That was a stomach to delight Franklin, for as 
poor Robin says, 

" Get what you can, 
And what you get, hold.'* 

I wonder none of the quack doctors have got up an 
infallible nostrum against the sea malady. 

It would be sure, one would think, of a sail. One can 
almost fancy a little dialogue. 

Passenger, " Well, Doctor, I have tried your sea-sick 
remedy." 

Doctor. " Well, — and how did it turn out ? " 

Thank heaven, the twenty-four articles are signed and 
we are at peace. I have no desire to move again, ex- 
cept to England. 

My prospect of that coast is somewhat clearer, as my 
health seems radically better, and, in the mean time, I 
have learned to hke even Ostend. It seems to agree 
with me in spite of my foot. Moreover, as I learned 
when in town, I am far from fit yet for a London life. 
Summer is before me, and I do not mean to throw it 



30 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



away by late hours and dissipation, but to try, by a regu- 
lar system, to get a little a-head in health. I am not 
desponding, but such annoyances as the present weaken, 
and lower, and worry me, particularly as I have as much 
to do as a strong person could get through. 

And now, God bless you all, and prosper you in every 
way. Pray give our kindest regards to Mrs. Elliot. 
Mrs. Hood, alias Jane, shall, and will write some day, 
but she is so much of a nurse that, like her patient, her 
pen is obliged to leave undone many things that should 
be done, — for instance, the last Number of " Hood's 
Own." 

I am, my dear Doctor, 

Yours ever, very faithfully, 

Thos. Hood. 

Have you read the account of Photogenic drawing or 
Lightography ? Moore saw " History write with pencil of 
light,^' but now light itself draws without any pencil at all. 

is a mercy light does not write, but perhaps even that 
will be done hereafter, and Phoebus will not only be a 
patron of poets, but a poet himself, and deal, like me, in 
Light literature. 

Jane, who has some maternal vanity, when she heard of 
the sun drawing pictures, said, " so does my son ! " 

To Lieut, de Franck. 

Mmj IZrd, 1839. 

Tim, says he, I am only able to write at short length, 
having more work for my pen and less time to do it in 
than ever. I have had a sad nine or ten months of it, 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



31 



almost always ill, and then having to do everything in 
haste by day and night. I think my liver complaint is 
tolerably cured, and I have not spit any blood for a very 
long while, but the curing has half killed me. I am as 
thm as a lath and as weak as plaster. Perhaps I have 
no blood left to spit. 

As to my leanness, look at the portrait. Tim, says he, 
I was over in England about three months ago at Dilke's, 
where I spent three weeks ; but though I am quite at 
home there, I came back to Ostend very willingly ; late 
hours and company do not agree with me yet. Will they 
ever ? God knows. 

Another year will set me up, or knock me down, — the 
wear and tear of my nerves, &c., cannot last longer. By 
the bye, this very day I am forty, — and you will have to 
drink my health out of a certain Bohemian Goblet, given 
to me on a certain birthday. As you cannot pledge me 
in it yourself, I will cheerfully be your proxy, provided 
the wine be good. As Beranger sings — 

" Dans un grenier qu'on est bien a vingt ans ! " 

But then I am two score, and sometimes am ready to call 
them the Forty Thieves, having stolen away all my youth 
and health. 

Look at the picture, Tim, I do not quite look so ill as 
then, but I am as weak as gin-and-water without the gin. 

Since Jane wrote I have found your list and procured 
what tackle you wanted. But, moreover, I have had the 
good luck to meet with some here, which I jumped at, 
and send, good or bad, with some flies and hooks I had 
by me. For fear of plunder, I send a list signed by me, 
in the box. 



32 



MEMOKIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



All the tackle jou will be so kind as to accept from 
me — with my best wishes towards the fisherman, and 
the worst towards the fish — except the gentle-boxes, 
which Tom junior (I will not call him my " son and heir,' 
as you have neither son nor hair) is desirous of sending 
you. He says, " The gentles have not only a little house, 
but a yard to walk about in." I did not expect an im- 
provement in a gentle-box, but you see there is a little 
tray to roll them into and select from. I guess you will 
enjoy the Pickwick — it is so very English. 

The mark on your box is . And put in your 

note-book, Tim, that in future you must direct 
A Monsieur T. Hood, 

La Rhetorique, 

JRue St. Fbancois, 

A Ostende. 

(Tour "St. Franck," if you "haven't a devil" instead.) 
A longer letter next time from. 
Dear Johnny, 

Yours ever very truly, 

Tim. 

Saturday, Oct. 21st, 1839. * 

My own Dearest and Best, 
You will wonder at not hearing from me, and still 
more as a packet went to Bradbury, all of which I have to 

* About this time my mother went over to England to visit her 
family, after an absence of four or five years. While she was away 
my father was taken very ill, as will be seen in the following letter, 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



33 



explain. It is a mingled yarn I must spin of good and 
bad. I was getting on so well, that, knowing its impor- 
tance at present, on many accounts, and as Mrs. D 

was writing, I would not hinder myself ; for it is not 
always I have the power to compose, which I was enjoy- 
ing. In fact, I was rejoicing in my progress ; and the only 
reason I did not send a packet was this, that what I had 
written was farther on in the book, and wanted some pre- 
vious matter to connect it ; and as the Bradburys had a 
sheet to go to press with, and half a sheet besides set up, 
I was afraid of locking up their type. The last thing I 
did was the story of the man who overhears the devil 
repeating the fatal word. This was finished on Wednes- 
day night, but not posted for the above reason. And so 
I went to bed about eleven, well pleased with my work ; 
but no sooner in bed than I had one of my old rheumatic 
attacks in my foot. A sudden change to very cold 
weather, I think, brought it on. You know what those 
attacks are. Your desire that I should wish for you, and 
not wish for you, literally came true. I missed the com- 
fort, but was hardly sorry you were not present to be dis- 
tressed by sufferings you could not relieve. I groaned all 
the night through in agony, without intermission ; and on 
Thursday morning about ten, put on leeches, which re- 

which, however, is very cheerfully written for fear of alarming her. 
My father was now becoming aware of the fact that the Belgian cli- 
mate did not suit him better than the German. Only the native air 
of his own England suited him. From that, his misfortune — and the 
faults of others, rather than his own — excluded him. In spite of this, 
nevertheless, he kept i^p a brave heax't, and struggled against illnesses, 
which an attentive reader will see were increasing in number and 
character every year. — T. H. 

2* C 



34c 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



lieved me a little. Soon after, from sheer exhaustion, I fell 
asleep ; but almost immediately woke up again with a most 
violent cramp in the same leg. The only remedy is to 
walk about on it ; but with my foot all swelled and in- 
flamed, I could not put it to the ground, and could only 
wait till the cramp went away of itself. You may sup- 
pose the double anguish was intolerable — in fact, it quite 
convulsed me ; and when the cramp was over, I had the 
pain all day, with only one short doze. At night, it was 
worse than ever, and I got no relief but by repeatedly 
putting it in hot water, and then only for the moment. It 
was so dreadful, I made Mary sleep in the children's 
room, for I thought I should be delirious. It abated a 
little in the day, but I was so weakened, I was less able 
to bear it, but got a little sleep in the evening and in the 
night. The pain only left me this, morning, and I still 
cannot move my foot freely. But it is so far over and 
gone, though I am suffering from exhaustion. I waked 
several times in the night quite in a dew of perspiration. 
To-morrow I shall be up, I expect, in my own room. 
Mary nursed me very attentively, and the children were 
very good. Poor Tibby made herself very useful, and 
Tom did his best at nursing, though it consisted in cud- 
dhng up one of my hands and keeping it warm with 
everything he could wrap round it. 

I seem doomed to have the trial once a year, — 
thank God, it only comes like Christmas. But I am not 
out of spirits, for, in other respects, I have been unusu- 
ally well, and getting on. I am glad the Dilkes like the 
book, and have hopes of it myself. I shall make it 1 2*., 
and it will have nearly, if not quite, double the letter- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



press of the " Whim?," and as many cuts. The Major, 
as usual, very kind, calhng twice a day to see me ; and 

I have had an interview in bed with Madame de M 

and Mrs. D . Madame offered to come and nurse 

me, or do anything in her power. 

By the bye, the " James Watt " is coming instead of 
the " Liverpool," which is to be repaired. 

The " Watt " is a fine vessel, so that you can come by 
that one, instead of the " Menai." Glad as I shall be to 
see you, dearest ; whilst you are there, settle all if you 

can, and especially as B wants you to stay. Don't 

fret yourself about me, now this is over I expect to go 
on very well, as I take all care of myself Mind and 
ask about Scott's works for the Nagels. I shall send a 
good packet for press on Tuesday. I shall think of noth- 
ing but getting out my book. B may advertise it 

for early in December, say the 10^;^. Does he think any 
cover would be advisable, (like "Hood's Own" for in- 
stance ?) beyond mere boards. 

I do beg you will see Elliot, it is of as great concern 
as anything else, and you are apt to forget yourself, dear- 
est, when other matters are in hand. Don't over-fatigue 
yourself, but use those little flys. Come back to me well, 
and you will find me so, or make me so, my best. We 
shall do well yet, and weather the point, if my health 
keeps as it promises. I shall go out to sea again. 
Trolling is over, and long-line fishing begun. Backer 
does not stay out all night, but goes one day and puts 
down his lines, returns, and goes and takes them up the 
next day. That would suit me very well. Thank you, 
dearest, for the herrings, they were excellent. 



36 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



I feel so much better that I shall go to work again tlils 
evening. It will not hurt me, as getting on is the great- 
est comfort I have. The children, bless them, are so 
good, and agree so well, it is quite delightful. Mrs. 

D takes them out every fine day. They both send 

love, and kisses, in abundance. Tom has drawn me 
with the leeches on, and says I roared like Dilke. You 
may tell Mrs. Dilke I mean to lay up * " my uncle " in 
earnest at Coblenz, and let Frank go on his march, whilst 
the old gent recovers. How useful " them Dilkes " are 
to me as suggestions ! It does me good to hear of them, 
or from them. Pray give my love to them and say, I 
now do hope we may all meet on this side of heaven. 
Also the Elliots, and ask his consent to the Dedication. 
Remember me kindly to W. Dilke if you see him. 

* ♦ * * 

God bless you my own, enjoy yourself as much as you 
can, you may be easier about me now this is over than 
before. It was cruel suffering ; but I could not de- 
scribe, without laughing, that cramp, for I was pirouet- 
ting about on one leg, and the other drawn up in such a 
twist, as only Grimaldi used to effect. Or remembering 
I was only in my shirt, I must have been like Oscar 
Byrne in his short tunic, and making as many grimaces. 
Luckily I was alone, for I must have bundled out of bed, 
had Hannah More been present I Don't tell Mrs. 
Dilke, or she will never lend me a spare bed again. 
Mary has brought me up a two-fold supper on one plate ; 

* My uncle and Franck are two of the characters in " Up the 
Rhine." — !. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



37 



on one side a roasted apple, on the other some nonde- 
script strips* (tripe). I ate the apple, and looked at tlie 
tripe, Verbum sap. She is very attentive, so bring her 
something. God bless you again ; I am going to settle, 
it 's half past ten. 

I forgot to say I shall want four " Hood's Own " (in 
the vol.), you had better send them per stewardess, as I 
suspect you will be loaded. 

N. B. Dories are coming in, tell the Dilkes. The 
other day I, Tom, and Fanny, had a little one apiece. 

I must wait for Sydney Smith till I 'm richer, — per- 
haps they will reprint it at Brussels. Mrs. R. has not 
sent my books yet — I bide my time. As to the Farce, 
the best Avay will be by a note to try Matthews' mind, — 
it was accepted by Price, but stopped by his stoppage. 
(Bulletin). Huzza ! I can move my toes ! 

OsTEND, November 7ih, 1839. 

My dear Dilke, 

* * * * 

As regards Boz, his morale is better than his material, 
though that is often very good ; it is wholesome reading : 
the drift is natural, along with the great human currents^ 
and not against them. His purpose sound, with that 
honest independence of thinking, which is the constant 
adjunct of true-heartedness, recognising good in low 
places, and evil in high ones, in short a manly assertion 
of Truth as Truth. Compared with such merits, his 
defects of over-painting, and the like, are but spots on 
the sun. 

* The Dutch servant's idea of the English word " tripe." — T. H. 



38 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



For these merits alone, he deserves all the successes he 
has obtained, and long may he enjoy them ! As for Jack 
Sheppard, the test of its value is furnished by the thieves 
and blackguards that yell their applause at its slang 
songs, in the Adelphi. Can the peimy theatres so uncer- 
emoniously routed, produce any effects more degrading 
and demoralising ? From what I have heard of their 
pieces they were comparatively mere absurdities to such 
positive Moral Nuisances. 

The " Inland Navigation" was also interesting. I like 
to see scientific theories thus justified by practice. Brains 
are better than brute force after all ! 

* * * * 

I am very glad you like my German book so far. I 
think I have kept old Orchard true to himself ; but I fear 
it is vastly unlike the character of that pig-headed, 
purblind, bigotted being, an English agricultural country 
gentleman ; a species identified with Corn Laws, No 
Popery, " Bible, Crown, and Constitution," and all other 
creeds and opinions that are sown by narrow instead of 
hroad cast. However a man, with Death constantly 
before his eyes, would probably be more honest, and 
tolerant. 

* 4k * % 

Talking of Germany, I have just heard from Franck, 
who desires his remembrances to you and Mrs. Dilke. 
He is now in Silesia making, or at least superintending 
the manufacture of guns. Possibly Russia and Prussia 
have some joint war game in view, with a very blind 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



39 



reliance on bayonets, by number, and a great ignorance 
of their own real position. The death of the King, 
made prudent by reverses, if it were to happen at this 
juncture might precipitate the denouement. But with a 
plot in his army, and the Circassians, I should think 
Nicholas had enough to do at home. The moral effect 
of that brilliant affiiir in India at this crisis will be great. 
" If England to herself would be but true," if English- 
men would but seek their own good in the national 
welfare, instead of the reverse ; if instead of attributing 
her past greatness to old systems of misrule and corrup- 
tion, because they were contemporaneous, they would but 
see that she flourished in spite of them! But alas! like 
the blind young gentleman in the " Tatler," the more you 
couch them, the more they will blunder and mistake one 
thing for another. He took the cook, did n't he ? for his 
sweet-heart, and the postman for his father. 

Apropos to Germany how very C — ish are the let- 
ters from Berlin and Leipsic ! How he jumps from the 
Turk's turbans, by a Volti subito, to the crotchets and 
quavers. 

" With rings on his fingers and (bells on his toes '?) 
We shall have music wherever he goes ! " 

I defy you, editor as you are, to make a more apt 
and characteristic quotation ; poor dear editors, when the 
new postage begins, how you will be pelted by penny 
letters ! 

Tom and Fanny are quite well, poor dear things, they 
are the only comforts I have in my goutiness, namely, by 
making them sit still because I can't walk about ! And 



40 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



that is such a comfort, (if you ask the philosophers) to 
crusty people. My poor legs ! I must go and stick them 
in the sands, as the piles are, to get mussels to 'em ! By 
the bye I am going to have some for supper ; they don't 
swell me, as they did your Mussulman, and they would 
only improve my figure if they did. Poor Mary, she 
tries to nurse and suit me, only when I had no appetite, 
the weakest stomach, and worst digestion, she brought 
me a bullock's liver to tempt me ! But she does her 
best, which is more than Lord Camelford did. 

My landlord has just sent me up a prospectus he has 
received from Frankfort, inclosing shares of a lottery for 
the grand estate of Gross Zdekau, in Austria ! To gull 
John Bull I reckon. I guess they won't get much out of 
the close-fisted Belgians. I remember such a lottery 
before for a princely estate somewhere in Germany, 
and the prince won it himself ! How very lucky ! But 
you know, Dilke, the Germans are so honest ! For 
instance I read this day in the " Life of Holtz," " It 
occurred to me to give lessons in Greek and English, for 
the purpose of earning something, and taking the burthen 
off my father ; I gave daily five lessons ; but I have not 
been paid by half my pupils. Some have gone away, 
and others show no intention of paying ! " 

Mind that 's a German's own account of German hon- 
esty, and not mine, Yon Dilke ! But what an ungrateful 
dog I am ! The first thing Franck saw in a Silesian 
circulating library was " Tales from the Works of Thom- 
as Hood, translated by Gustavus Sellen, Leipsic," (seven 
of the "National Tales"). "Now I am sure," says 
Franck, " you never wrote them, firstly because I never 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



41 



heard you mention them, and secondly they are not at all 
like you, they are much too sentimental, and as high- 
flown and flowery as the Germans generally write their 
novels ! " That 's what I call translation, not merely 
done into the German language, but into the German 
style, and German feeling. 

The first thing I have found do me any good, was a 
bottle of porter, so I have continued it, three glasses per 
day, eschewing all other drinks; luckily it's very gettable 
here, and I think it helps me to fetch up my long arrears 
of sleep ; in case I don't, I have little Tom for a bed- 
fellow till Jane returns ; only the sick, and sleepless, and 
spiritless can know the comfort, the blessing of a familiar 
voice in the long dreary night. Mind I don't wake him 
up on purpose, but, even if I did, his good temper would 
excuse it. Being waked in such a way is a sure test 
of temper, if ever you want to try Mrs. Dilke's. / 
rouse up very well, and patiently, particularly about ten 
in the morning. I am living in a sort of world before 
time. Tom has managed to stop the works of my watch, 
the Black Forest clock * has stopped of itself, and there 
is a Dutch clockmaker's over the way but it 's dark, — 
I guess it 's about half past ten, but it may be two in 
the morning, so I'll shut up. My kindest regards to 

* A little eccentric German clock, a" striking" favourite of my 
father's, who purchased it in the Schwarzwald. Mrs. Dilke bought 
one at the same time, and unfortunately some of the works of the two 
got transferred from one to the other, and they never went well in 
consequence. This is the origin of the jokes made by my father in a 
letter to Mrs. Dilke, about their having one another's " insides." — 
T.H. 



42 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Mrs. Dilke, (I shall write next to her,) to "Went- 
worth, and to William if in town. God bless you all, 
saith, 

Dear Dilke, 

Yours ever very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

P. S. Mrs. Dilke, if you are a happy woman, and 
don't want to be a " widder," read all Dilke's letters and 

notes first The Count de la P will call him out, 

but don't let him go out, any more than his Arnott's stove. 

If anybody enquires after the editor, say " Mr. C 's 

in Germany, but I don't exactly know where, it begins 
with a B ! " Good bye. " God bless." 

You need have no remorse about this letter. You 
would not have had such a long one if I had not actually 
despatched a packet by this very night's steamer for 
Bradbury. As the boys say from school to their fathers, 
" I am getting on very well in my writing ! " and at this 
present somewhat ahead of the printer. 

La Rhetorique, Rue St. FRAN901S, Nov. ISth, 1839. 
Dear Dilke, 
I should think C would not part with Ms auto- 
graph, but I think it very probable that M appro- 
priated one. After the " Gem " was done, a silver cup, 
or something, was sent to Sir Walter, and there may 
have been a letter springing out of that to me, as editor. 
I feel sure I have kept all mine. I should like to know 
the fact. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



43 



You were quite right about my advertisement, but it 
was a difficulty I have not yet got over. I am toiling 
hard for the 2oth, but it is such weather! It's a 
wretched climate in spring, autumn, and winter : such 
damp, unwholesome fogs. Our paved yard has been 
sloppy wet the last week, without a drop of rain. Plenty 
of low fever and dysentery in the town : yet it is better 
than inland, for we have the sea. 

I am so glad you have n't seen the Bruges casket yet. 
I would get Jane to copy out a criticism on that, too, but 
there is n't room. Besides you threaten to print, — where- 
fore I shall send nothing but cutting-up strictures on the 
" Athenaeum " in future, which you may extract in it if 
you like. 

You talk of my being meant for a painter, — Tom is ; 
t' other day he cut a great notch out of his hair. " How 
came you to do that ? " asked his mother. Says Tom, as 
grave as a judge, " for a paint-hrush ! " There 's early 
bias for you ! Now I must go to work again. It will be 
my waking dream, our Belgian Tour. Kind regards to 
Wentworth, and love to all. 

Eyer, dear Dilke, 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

My dear Mrs. Dilke, 
I owe you a letter ! 

Yours very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

P. S. — Eleven at night. 



44 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



La RnETOKiQUE, Rue St. Francois, X Ostexd, 
November 23rc?, 1839. 

My dear Doctor, 

I ought to have written to you before, but I am terri- 
bly hurried in getting out my book, having been thrown 
back by the weather of this uncertain climate. The 
truth is, I cannot quite make out your meaning, or your 
wish in your note to Mrs. Hood about the dedication. If 
you mean to imply that I should look out some more 
illustrious personage, or great man, who might have pa- 
tronage, I have no hopes or desires of that nature, but 
prefer inscribing my books to parties I respect and es- 
teem, or have a regard for, — such as yourself. 

But perhaps you are averse to having your name 
brought before the public in that way ; in any case, do 
not scruple at once to object, if you feel any objection, 
and I will not be too inquisitive about your reasons. 
May I beg your answer hy return of post — a few lines 
will suffice, as I know how your time is occupied with 
business. 

Mrs. Hood is hardly settled enough to pronounce upon 
herself yet. Tom is as well as can be. Fanny has had 
a slight attack of the low fever peculiar to the place. I 
am convinced that at times I have suffered from it too ; 
for instance, during the last ten days, when we have had 
the wind from the land, bringing from the low ground 
and marshes such damp fogs, that our yard has been con- 
tinually as wet as after rain. It acts on me by producing 
great lassitude and general torpor of the functions, circu- 
lation, and digestion especially. It produces generally a 
peculiar effect on the tongue, as in Fanny's case, which 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



45 



Mrs. Hood described to you. She has now a sligliter 
relapse of it, through going again to school. A girl of 
eighteen or twenty lately died of it ; for a long time her 
tongue swelled too big for her mouth. A great mystery 
is made of it, for fear of frightening away the English, 
who spend some £ 2000 a-year in the town. But it is 
well known by the natives, who will all tell you the rem- 
edy, though they deny the disease. I got the truth 
partly from my reading, and partly from my old boat- 
man, a German. It is called the Koorts, and is very 
prevalent about Walcheren. Our old doctor having re- 
tired from practice, we have had a new one to-day — a 
younger man. He said Fanny's complaint arose entirely 
from atmospherical causes, the late cold, damp weather, 
and Avhen asked if it was not Koorts, at once acknowl- 
edged it. But this is the first time that we have had it 
admitted. I seriously think when my time is out here, 
of going either to England or into France on this ac- 
count ; it occasions serious hindrance, for at such times I 
cannot write, or even think ; but when the yard is dry, 
and the sky clear, or a frost, I do both. The changes 
are so marked, and I have watched so attentively, I have 
no doubt of the fact. What is worse is, it creates a ne- 
cessity for more and stronger wine than is good for me, 
to counteract the lowness, &c. I have lately been trying 
to drink the Bordeaux, which is very good and pure 
here, in lieu of other wine. I like it ; but it seems to 
me that it makes too much Mood. I should try to leave 
them all off in a better climate. . But in the meantime 
I must do the best I can. My wife sends her love, and 
hopes Mrs. Elliot and the baby are going on better 



46 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 

than could be expected. Pray accept also the con- 
gratulations of, 

Dear Doctor, 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 




MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



47 



CHAPTER II. 

1840. 

At Ostend. — Letters to Dr. Elliot. — Goes to England. — Is taken se- 
riously ill at Stratford. — Letters to his Wife. — Mrs. Hood joins him 
at Stratford. — Letter to Mr. Dilke. — Eeturns to Ostend. — Final 
settlement in England, at Camberwell. — Mrs. Hood to Lieutenant 
de Franck. — Letter to Dr. Elliot. — Discovers the misconduct of his 
Publisher. — Commences a law-suit against him. — Engaged on The 
New Monthly. — " Miss Kilmansegg." 

im March, 1840. 

Dear Doctor, 

I feel deeply obliged in the lowest depth, and deeper 
still, for your prompt and kind letter. I have just trans- 
lated it to one of the Belgian Consultation, and hasten to 
give you the result. 

* * * * 

Now, here was a striking proof of the ill effect of the 
climate. Though the weather looked so beautiful, the 
earth was in one of its cold sweats : at three o'clock the 
whole place was wrapped in a white mist, and our paved 
yard as wet as after rain. It is quite curious to watch 
the phenomenon. From the yard a flight of about twelve 
or fifteen steps leads to the second floor. You literally 
see the damp ascend, step by step, till the whole flight is 



48 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



wet. To natives and residents in health this may not 
prove so obviously injurious ; but to invalids, and espe- 
cially coming into it at this season, its effects are very 
marked. I have just heard of a case like mine. 

An old retired sea captain has been lately in London 
for medical advice. The doctors sent him home well ; 
and the very day after his return he was seized again, 
and is now laid up in bed. The family say they are now 
convinced it results from the climate : a conclusion they 
would be loth to come to, as they have a good business 
here, and the suffering xincle is a principal partner. 

Moreover, Mr. D , a strong man, returned from 

fox-hunting in England last Friday, and is now taken 
with a sore throat, and unwell, and attributes it altogether 
to the same cause. As to myself, I am a perfect hygrom- 
eter, and for a wager could tell, by my feelings alone, 
w hether the stones in our yard were wet or dry. I can 
perfectly, I think, understand the peculiar effect of the 
air on me as on Sunday. * * * However, whether 
the lungs be touched or not, I shall follow your instruc- 
tions as if they were ; though I could hardly help smiling 
at a part of them — where I Avas " to be mum and very 
still ; " it sounded so much like an exhortation from a 
Friend to turn Quaker. But, in reality, I find no dif- 
ference in my voice, it is as strong as usual, and I read 
aloud your letter from end to end without the slightest 
inconvenience. In the Walcheren low fevers (akin to 
the effects of this air), bark I believe was the great 
specific : and in the same way the tonics may do me 
good. * * * 

Till I get over the blood-spitting, I sit wholly in my 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



49 



bed-room ; it looks to the west and is better secured. My 
own room is not very air-tight, and the windows front 
the east, and in spite of fire I feel its evil influence. 
The ground-floor is uninhabitable — it drips with damp ! 

* * * * 

Without all these means and appliances (hot bottles, 
baths, &c.), I find great difficulty in keeping warm ex- 
tremities. I even cover my hands, and, like Sir Roger 
de Coverley's literary ancestor in the picture, write son- 
nets with my gloves on. For, alas ! I cannot follow up 
one of your rules, and give up all work. Throughout I 
have been obliged to puzzle through very ill-kept and 
tardily-rendered * accounts — a harassing job enough — 
and I know its ill effects on me ; but necessitas non 
hdbet I But I leave all such matters to talk over with 
you by word of mouth, some day. Really I was half- 
inclined to come across by to-day's packet to see you, 
feeling it a serious case if I should happen not to be in 
the right course. But I gave up the idea as very incon- 
venient just now, and in some respects a risk. I was 
obhged to leave London suddenly, or I should most cer- 
tainly have come to Stratford, as I had planned. If I 

* My father was a good arithmetician. Many of his rough MSS. 
were covered with sums in the neatest of figures. One of the games, 
which (as I have mentioned) he invented for us, was a truly British 
game of merchantmen. Boxes rigged with paper sails represented our 
traders, and Avere freighted with different articles of commerce, to be 
bartered at various "poxis" in different parts of the room. For this 
game our father used to make us out miniature " bills of parcels, and 
freight," and merchants' accounts, which I only regi-et were not pre- 
served, as they were remarkable for neatness and accuracy. — T. H. 

VOL. II. 3 D 



50 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



did not write from Grosvenor-place, it was only from fear 
of taxing your kindness, remembering the great distance, 
and how you are engaged. I was exceedingly disap- 
pointed that I could not drop in on you, and show you 
my boy; he is a fine healthy fellow, very good, and 
almost reads.* He behaved most manfully on his travels, 
by sea and land, and was quite a gallant in London, as 
perhaps the Dilkes told you. Fanny is more delicate, 
but very good and very clever. With tolerable wealth 
I could be very happy, for my prospects are far from 
hopeless, indeed far otherwise — in fact, looking up. 
Poor Jane does not mend much ; but her anxiety and 
fatigue about me are against her, probably the climate 
also. But I hope in autumn to quit Ostend, that is to 
say, I must ; for another winter would assuredly kill me. 

I was amused by a remark of old Dr. Jansen's (for he 
is quite a veteran). I said my sedentary profession was 
against me. And when he understood it was literary, 
" Ah ! " said he, with a glance at a thin, yellowish face, 
" a serious writer, of course." Akin to this, I one day 
overheard a dispute between Tom and Fanny as to 
what I was. " Pa 's a literary man," said Fanny. " He 's 
not ! " said Tom : " I know what he is." " What is he, 
then ? " " Why," says Tom, " he 's not a literary man — 
he's an invalid." They have made me an honorary 
Vice-President of the African Institute at Paris. Oddly 
enough, the day afterwards two black gentlemen came 

* We have thought it best not to omit any of these frequent men- 
tions of his children, as to those who knew him the letters would lack 
a characteristic, and to those who did not know him, would fail to 
show the warmth of his domestic affections, if these passages had been 
struck out. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



51 



here in a ship on their way to Havannah. They caused 
some speculation in the town, so I gave out that they 
were a black deputation to bring my diploma. 

I must now follow your rule, and go to bed. Our Car- 
nival is fortunately over (the maskers of the lower class 
were dreadfully noisy), and we can sleep o' nights. 

God bless you all. My wife's love to Mrs. Elliot and 
my kind regards along with it. Your united healths in 
a tumbler of Vitriolic ! As I know your time is precious, 
do not trouble yourself to answer this, as there seems 
nothing of consequence to reply to ; and, in the mean- 
time, I shall follow your rules. 

I am, dear Doctor, 

Yours ever very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

P. S. Can my spitting blood have ceased because I 
have none left ? What a subject for a German romance, 
« The Bloodless Man ! " 

La Ehetorique, X Ostend, 

Wednesday, IQth March, 1840. 

Dear Doctor, 
I write again to report progress, especially as it seems 
to be favourable. I have had no regular return since 
this day week. I began on Wednesday last to follow 
your directions closely, in all but the silent system ; which 
I found in some degree impracticable, my signs being 
constantly inadequate or misunderstood ; but I have 
spared my lungs as much as possible. Luckily for me, 
the weather changed to fine about Wednesday, the wind 



52 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



going round to west and south-west. I felt during that 
time much better, but yesterday and to-day the wind 
blows north and east again, the ground is wet, and I feel 
it like a conscious hygrometer. 

* * * * 

This discomfort consists in no pain, but a general feel- 
ing of languor or lassitude, and more or less drowsiness. 

I attribute this solely to the change of the weather, for 
neither yesterday or to-day have I felt so well : cold feet 
and the cold hand. I was free from this during the finer 
days, but think the low fever is particularly consequent 
on the climate. I knew an English family in Rotterdam, 
and one of the daughters suffered so continually from 
low fever for two years, they were obliged to move up to 
Coblenz. Now in London, though eating heartily, and 
living well (but on joints, which I prefer to made-dishes), 
I was particularly free from any symptoms of bilious de- 
rangement, indeed better generally than since I went 
abroad. And I think this luckily gave me strength to 
struggle with the present attack, by which I am less 
beaten down, than might otherwise have been expected. 

But I feel sure now mere fine weather would bring 
me round. A friend of ours the other day visited the 
Hospital here, and one of the Sisters of Charity, who 
was nursing, told her that during the present season, 
February and March, the number of their patients is 
doubled, compared with any other period. 

Several circumstances have concurred probably to 
bring on my attack; not only cold damp weather, but 
for the last six weeks two hundred men have been em- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



53 



ployed in clearing out the moats round the town. The 
sewers flow into them — the tide does not — and they 
have not been disturbed before, perhaps for many 
years. 

When I came I saw heaps of the black mud, &c., on 
the sands, to be washed away by the sea. 

Besides this it turns out that our water has been fail- 
ing (it is always bad enough), and latterly we have been 
drinking the very grouts of our w^ell. At present we 
have none, and are obliged to beg and borrow. We use 
some sort of filter, but I believe the water here to be 
very unwholesome, and know the Belgians from up the 
country have a horror of it. 

By the harbour there is a house where water is sold, 
which is brought from the interior in barges : it is used 
for the shipping. I presume because the Ostend water 
will not keep ! 

As for the air I am persuaded that its miasma acts 
upon me more immediately and perniciously than you 
could credit, unless it were at once brought under your 
notice. As a sample of the damp, and its penetrating 
nature; in the latter autumn, I remember our butcher 
saying that the meat hanging in his shop was literally 
saturated and dripping with water! When I am well 
enough, I mean to inquire into the cases so numerous at 
the hospital; the peculiar effects of the malaria on 
myself make it a subject of great interest. A lady 
friend of ours here in delicate health, has her good and 
bad days so regularly with mine, that we corroborate 
each other like two good barometers. 

I am told the chemists here make all their prepara- 



54 



MExMOKIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



tions very strong.* Ten drops of their vitriolic acid 
quite suffice for a tumbler of water. 

What is the test for Epsom salts and oxalic acid ? I 
got some sulphate of magnesia, but a fresh supply to- 
night tasted so unusually hot or acrid in the throat, that 
I was afraid to go on with it. 

Directly the weather is settled enough, I shall take a 
saiL The voyage to England does me so much good 
always, I half incline some day to go over to Dover by 
mail, and return the next morning. I should not get 
further, for I cannot well stand long coach journeys. As 
for the south of France or Italy, it is far, far away to go 
with a family, bag, and baggage ; and the uncertainty of 
my working days, from illness, renders a prompt commu- 
nication with London imperatively necessary. 

I should think that Dieppe, or some other such place 
answerable to our own coast, on a chalk cliff, might suit 
me. I used to be very well at Brighton. I do not 
think mere cold hurts me, if it is not combined with damp. 
By the way, should authorship fail me some day, don't 
you think I have studied enough and dabbled in my own 
case to set up for a Quack ? Talking of cases, a Liege 
banker's wife was here last summer for health. On 
asking her what ailed her, she told me her doctor said 
she had " too good a digestion." I could not help an- 
swering : " Oh ! if that' s all, 1 will undertake to cure you 
of that!" 

Did I tell you of the panic here at Christmas. A 
Mr. and Mrs. R were stopped, all packed ready for 



* Probably because the damp atmosphere diluted the nostrums suf- 
ficiently as they stood on the shelves. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



55 



a flitting without paying. The creditor here has his 

choice, so Mr. R was put in Bruges jail; but it " 

ought to have been the lady, for she incurred all the 
debts. Then a major and his family went clear off. 
The Belgians got frightened, and put an execution in at 
Sir 's. Next, a man came to Ostend, took lodg- 
ings, won a horse at a raffle, rode out one morning, and 
never came back. There was quite a panic ! Since 

then they have sent a Colonel B to Bruges, and 

noAv a Mr. D . We are getting quite select ! 

I have hopes to-morrow will be fine. How I shall 
' enjoy the sight of the first butterfly : I shall not feel safe 
till then. Jane sends her love to Mrs. Elliot, and God 
bless you all ! From, 

Dear Doctor, 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

What a droll notion of a Greek lately applying to the 
Tribunal at Athens to move for a new trial in re Soc- 
rates ! The Court refused to enter on the matter. It 
might have reversed the verdict on the philosopher, but 
who could unpoison him? 

La Rhetorique, Rue St. FEAN901S, A. Ostend, 
March 2mh, 1840. 

Mt dear Doctor, 
Many thanks for your very kind letter. I am happy 
to tell you, that I have had no return of the blood since 
I mentioned. I am more than ever convinced the great 
evil is the climate ; and it appears to be characteristic, as 



56 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



of Holland, &c., that when once the climate gets hold of 
you in such a way, there is no remedy but to leave it. 

It is my belief, that this place, the height of summer 
excepted, cannot be good for any one : but that for any 
peculiar complaint or predisposition, it is one of the very 
worst that could be selected. 

I see that Marryat, speaking of the diseases most com- 
mon in America, mentions those of the marshy parts, as 
ague, and "congestive bilious fever." Moreover, in 
reading the new " Sporting Magazine," I came across an 
article which seemed to have a curious bearing on the 
subject — the " Diseases of Hounds," and in particular, - 
kennel lameness — a sort of rheumatism — and the yel- 
lows, a kind of jaundice. These it attributes to their 
kennels being built on a sandy soil, giving several re- 
markable instances. It says that rain does not penetrate 
deeply into the earth, and consequently sooner evapo- 
rates ; whereas wet sinks into the sand deeply, and is 
given off again in a constant but imperceptible manner. 
This is very perceptible, for our sands are beautiful to 
the eye, and look dry ; but thrust in a stick an inch or 
two, and the hole is instantly filled with water ; only the 
immediate superficial surface is dry ; below is sand and 
water intermixed. I have seen a curious effect from 
this. When at high water in roughish weather a wave 
runs on the dry sand, the pressure forces up the water 
from beneath the apparently dry sand in little fountains 
one or two inches high ! The fluid we drink here is all 
rain-water, more or less recent, which has thus been 
stagnating in the sand ; at the best from the roofs and 
gutters ! It smells strongly, and even tastes of the soot ; 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



57 



bnt some of it (from our well, for instance) must be 
puti'escent, it smells like stinking fish; and the plates, 
&c., which have been washed in it are at all times dis- 
gustingly strong of it. 

I perfectly understand your description of my case, 
and have not the slightest doubt of your being right. 
What I mean to say is, there is no lung disease, i. e. orig- 
inal. This mischief is in the stomach or liver; and I 
can imagine how that may affect the lungs, or any other 
neighbouring part, as an embarrassment or stoppage in 
the Strand would affect bridges or any other laterals. 

I continue to take the drops, but with some misgiving 
that the water does me as much harm as I derive benefit 
from the drops. Just now it is execrable, and with the 
soot in it ought to give one the " sweeps' disease." 

Your kind invitation is a very tempting one in every 
way. For the mere benefit of your opinion, I was half 
tempted to run across for a week ; but, in reality, the 
voyage and change of air always do me so much good, 
and so promptly, that, instead of seeing me indisposed, 
you would be almost inclined to think half my complaint 
must be hyp — or sham. I almost suspect it is the belief 
of some of my non-medical friends. For instance, how 
w^ell I was at Dilke's ! You know better ; but still, you 
could not see an attack. 

I never had even an inclination to spit blood in Lon- 
don. Then at Dilke's I used daily to let the fire go out ; 
whereas here I am perpetually scorching my boots to 
keep my feet warm, and cannot keep my hands out of 
my pockets for cold. Moreover, my mind always derives 
benefit from the change of scene, and a little society ; and 

3* 



58 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



altogether I am better always for a trip to' England. 
But there are too many lions in the path for me to think 
of it at present. In the meantime, I will follow your 
rules as closely as possible, and if I can but hold on till 
the fine weather sets in, I hope I shall get over these 
attacks whilst I have to remain at Ostend. 

My principal suffering at present is that after dinner, 
however light, — a bit of fish, for instance, whiting or 
haddock — I feel a great discomfort, not easy to describe, 
a compound of sinking and yet oppression ; sometimes a 
little drowsiness, languor, lassitude, and a craving, not for 
wine in particular, but some assistance, either stimulus or 
warmth. I longed for my tea, for example, but find cof- 
fee still more comforting, and have it directly after din- 
ner. It seems to me to be the first process of digestion 
is so weak. I take no other liquids save toast or barley- 
water. 

I will try to be as dumb as I can ; but then I have as 
many impediments to silence as there are sometimes to 
speech. I wish I could rest from work : but I have just 
finished an article for the new Sporting Magazine. But 
then at the worst of my attack I was obliged to write 
business letters, and go through troublesome accounts — 
neither a pleasant nor a profitable labour of the pen. I 
am so sleepy, I must not transgress another of your rules, 
but e'en to bed at once. 

So, God bless you all. With kind regards from us to 
you both, 

I am, dear Doctor, 

Yours ever very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



59 



In accordance with Dr. Elliot's wish and invitation, my 
father went to England, where he was seized with a very 
severe attack of spitting blood at Dr. Elliot's house, as 
the following letters to my mother describe — 

Stratford, April 15th, 1840. 
My own Dearest and Best, 
I could not write yesterday to you, nor can much to- 
day. I came here on Monday evening, and fortunately 
for me, for in the evening, or rather at night, I had a 
very bad attack, spitting more blood than ever at once, 
except the first time at Coblenz. The Doctor watched 
it, and meant to bleed me, but it went oflP. Tuesday 
morning it returned ; and, by way of saving blood, he 
took some from my arm, till I was rather faint. I am 
now better, but am obliged to keep silence and remain in 
bed. It will be a comfort to you, dearest, to know I am 
here with all skill and help at my hand, and every com- 
fort and care. A brother and sister could not be kinder 
to me than they are ; only one other could nurse me more 
tenderly and affectionately. So pray do not be anxious 
on my account. I am now better, body and mind. The 
Doctor says he has now no doubt on my case, that I am 
as he expected to find me, and the affection is what he 
supposed it to be, aggravated by the largeness of my 
heart. The more to give to you, love! 

^ ^ ^ ¥^ 

The weather is fine, but with a cold east wind, though 
I do not suffer from it under an English roof in an Eng- 
lish bed. I am hoping you had fine weather for your 



60 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Bruges trip, which would do you all good. Dilke, if he 
can, is to come here to-day to see me. Poor Mrs. D. 
wrote me such a storm of wind, to account for my not 
hearing from you on Wednesday, thinking I was worry- 
ing myself. I have written to quiz her on her hurricane, 
as there was no post. 

* * * * 

I quite regret that I was prevented from bringing 
Tom here ; he would have been so happy. There is a 
little fellow, full of fun, about his own age, and a little 
girl, so like what Willie was, it struck me in an instant. 
They are all very well. I am a sort of melodramatic 
mystery, I suspect, to some of the boys, associated with 
many basons and blood ! The two little ones have visited 
me in my room, and this morning brought me in the 
Comic Annual to amuse me ! To the little things I must 
look a very odd personage, for I have been unshaved 
since last Saturday, and am almost a sapeur. But I 
avoid all exertion, and keep in bed, in hope of discount- 
ing the attack. 

It is rather trying to my patience to be so laid up — 
passive, when I ought to be active. 

* * * * 

They have a nice garden here, and a paddock. I 
take a look out of my window sometimes, and invariably 
find my eyes resting on Shooter's Hill. A blue hill is a 
novelty after our flats. Then the quiet is quite delicious. 
I do not hear a sound. Now the Rue St. Francois is 
almost as noisy as Cheapside, with railway-trucks and 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



61 



fish-barrows. I feel very English-like here ; that is as 
good as saying I feel very comfortable ! 

The young Dilkes are expected back soon ; they are 
at Henley-on-Thames. They are to live in Sloane Street. 
We have had a deal of fun, Mrs. Dilke and I, about the 
haste of the wedding, that the cake was put in a very 
quick oven, &c. I told Mrs. Dilke they ought to have 
put it in the papers thus : — " Suddenly, on such a day, 
at St. Luke's, Pimlico." 

Mrs. Elliot has just looked in, and desires her love to 
you. I know you will give them credit for all kindness, 
but it is really delightful, and I am so very comfortable ; 
it must help my getting well, for it soothes my mind, 
which else has enough to fret about. But I turn my 
thoughts into the pleasantest channels I can, none more 
so than yourself and the children. I think of you con- 
tinually, and, however well off, must pine and long for 
your faces and kisses. God bless you all, again and 
again ! Do let me hear from you soon that you are bet- 
ter, and let us get well, body and mind together. I long 
to write more, but am forbidden. 

* * * * 

Stkatford, April 18th, 1840. 

Mt own dearest Love, 
As you seem so anxious about me, I write, though it 
should prove but a few lines, to make you more easy. 
You have no doubt been alarmed by my writing from 
bed, where I still am ; but not from inability to rise, but 
as a sort of precaution. But I have had no fresh attack 
sifice the bleeding in the arm. I suspect had I been bled 



62 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



at first at Ostcnd instead of lingering on for fourteen 
days, it would have averted all this ; but the Doctor says 
they probably thought I had no blood to spare, and he 
only bled me to save blood in the end. He seems to 
think that the great cause is in the heart itself, and that 
in future I must live very quietly : * as free as possible 
from mental agitation or annoyance. Alas, how difficult 
for any of us to escape ! He is very earnest for my re- 
turning to England, as the best climate for both mind 
and body, and at this moment, there are many induce- 
ments literally before my eyes. It is a lovely, sunny day. 
Imagine me in bed, with the window open, looking over 
their garden across the country, so green with its mead- 
ows and hedges, and Shooter's Hill so beautifully blue in 
the distance. It looks lovely, and yet " my heart 's in 
the Zow^lands — my heart is not here," and I feel how 
many other conditions are necessary to my living in 
England. In the meantime let it console you, that I 
am enjoying English comforts ; my bed, even when it 
could not be made for two or three days, was more com- 
fortable than my littering-down abroad. My great mis- 
ery is to lie here, doing nothing in the way of work or 
arrangements,, for I am not allowed to speak enough for 
business matters. 

* * * * 

But by the present sacrifice of time, as of blood, I hope 

* My mother was always careful to keep my father free from any 
anxiety and woity that she could, and we childi-en were brought up 
in a sort of Spartan style of education, and taught the virtues of silence 
and low voices. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



63 



to save in the end, by avoiding any risk of relapse. You 
are right about my cravings, 1 do long for the old familiar 
faces — and the young ones, too — and the dear sweet 
voices and loving kisses. " There 's no place like home," 
especially for the sick or sorrowful. Yet is this the very 
next to one's own house ; and in one respect better, and 
in that we must both take comfort. I have great hope 
the extreme care and skill I am treated with must do 
me permanent good. The kindness and attention of both 
the Doctor and Mrs. Elliot are delightful ; she brings me 
everything herself, and forestalls all my wants and wishes. 
I have daily visits, too, from the children. Willie, now 
a fine lad, likes to come and talk a little. 

On Thursday, Dilke came to see me, and dined here, 
and Mrs. Dilke, I expect, will come this week. Dilke 
said I was better than he expected to find me. I have 
just been reading Doctor James Johnson on " Travelling, 
Climate, and the effects of Malaria abroad," which 
seems quite to account for my own case. 

I find if I close shortly it will go off to-day, so I 
must finish. Of course I have no news, had I time, 
beyond what I have told you of myself. I am grieved 
to hear of your bad cold, but of course it was from 
the early journey, but the jaunt would cheer you up 
a bit. As you cannot nurse me, take all good care 
of my other self, and above all do not fret about me, 
but let us meet again, well and happy on both sides. 
I wish I could write to my dear good children. Kiss 
them fondly for me ; I know what a comfort they must 
be to you. 



64 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



The Doctor has just been up, and he says I am 
going on very well. I promise you faithfully to let 
you know should I be worse, so that when you do not 
hear from me you may be at ease. 

Stratford, Good Friday, April, 1840. 

My own Dearest, 
Recollecting that you would not otherwise hear till 
Tuesday, I cannot deprive you so long of what, I know, 
will be such comfortable news for you, as my being 
much better. Fortunately the weather has been beau- 
tiful. On Tuesday I had my bed-room window open 
nearly all day; on "Wednesday I came down-stairs, 
for the first time, and took a turn in the garden. Yes- 
terday I was out in it for a still longer time, and the 
fresh air really seems fresh life to me. Good air acts 
as potently on me as bad. I do not feel so weak as 
I expected, from the loss of blood and low diet. I 
take no meat, only light puddings, with tea, coffee, and 
the vitriolic lemonade, as drinks. Oranges, and lemon- 
ade made with isinglass, biscuits and sponge cakes. 
There you have my diete. The rigour of my silence 
is relaxed a little, and I am beginning to make acquaint- 
ance with the "kin." William, George, and Gilbert 
are nice boys — then little Dunsterville, about Tom's 
age, Jeauie a year older, and the baby, a girl. They 
all look so well and happy it is a pleasure to be amongst 
them. Such regrets that I could not bring Tom here 
last time! Dilke has talked of him to them a good 
deal. By the bye, it seems to me, being fine, and a 
holiday, I may possibly see something of the Dilkes 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



65 



to-day, as she talked of coming. Tell Tibbie and Tom, 
being Good Friday, I breakfasted to-day on regular 
hot-cross buns. I shall long for their letters, as I have 
done for their dear faces and gossip ; and you may 
suppose I have had many lonely hours in bed, for being 
forbidden to talk, it was better to have no one to sit 
with me. But now comes the hardship. As I get 
better, my mind gets anxious, and I long to be doing. 
Whilst it was impossible I submitted ; by dint of reading, 
I kept my mind quiet, and have been tolerably patient ; 
but now that I am able to get down and walk out, though 
but a little, all the urgency of my affairs returns on 
me in spite of myself ; but I must banish them, or 
I shall be thrown back again. 

« « 4)} * 

I am sitting opposite my open window, and by help 
of Shooter's Hill can tell which way lies Ostend. I 
seem to have the pigeon's sight, but wish for the pigeon's 
flight along with it, towards home. My hope is that 
this attack may enable the Doctor to judge, and put 
me on a good plan for the future. But I had rather 
my liver had been worse, and my heart better, as I know 
I am fore-doomed to wear and tear, and that is worst 
for the last. I must not write a great deal now, or 
I shall lose my lounge in the garden. I have got to 
dress, and the post goes from here at three. I dine 
between one and two. 

I mean to try and write a ballad or something, whilst 
I am here ; but my mind, as well as my body, as yet 
feels very languid. Every comfort, but seeing you, 

E 



66 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



I have here, and all that kindness can do, or think of. 
There is no country like England, no people like the 
English after all. 

I am not surprised at B 's wanting to go to New 

Zealand ; there are simple savages there to take in and 
plunder. 

* * * * 

You must not take fright at my scrawl ; it is the best 
I can manage, unless the vitriol water I have put in 
mends my ink. My pen ought to run to say all I feel 
towards you, for I think of you incessantly, and it 
helps to make me well. 

* * * * 

Now that I 'm off your hands, I do hope you will take 
care of yourself; it will be no use my getting well if 
you don't : it will be like a paralysis of one side. 

I can see the smoke of the steamers going up and 
down the river, and it sets me longing. This time I 
hope to come home direct, and not through Dover. 

* * * * 

But for the world's gear," how happy could I be 
in spite of ill health ! I half suspect the sickness of 
my heart has been from hope defen'ed. But time and 
the tide wear through the roughest day; so pluck up 
your spirits, dear one, and let us hope still : it is better, 
at all events, than despairing. If you were but as near 
as you are dear to me, I think I should find little ailing. 
If it but please God to spare me, you, and my bairns 
sound and well, I will not repine at the rest. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



67 



Stratfokd, April, 1840. 

I am very sorry, my own dearest and best, to have 
been the cause of disappointing you ; but I only told you 
what my own impression was on the subject of your 
coming. I must confess I almost wished afterwards that 
you should come, in spite of it; your good heart so 
seemed set upon it. I do not either undervalue the 
comfort you would be to me, though I hardly see 
how you could well help me in business matters ; and 
I should be anxious about the " kin " in the absence 
of both of us. 

As regards myself, I am mending, though very slowly. 
I have not deceived you about my state : I do not spit 
even stale blood now ; but I am very weak and languid, 
often low and nervous, as you may suppose, as up to this 
I have never eaten any animal food, or had any drink 
save tea or coffee. But the Doctor thinks it the best and 
safest course, and evidently proceeds very cautiously, as 
I have no doubt a relapse now would be very serious. I 
could ( but don't ) fret a good deal at the delays and loss 
of time ; and, in spite of all my efforts, at times am much 
disturbed to think that nothing is doing. I try to write 
a trifle, but cannot, from prostration of mind and body. 
Up till now, indeed, I have been sadly troubled with 
beatings and noises in the head ; I am getting better, but 
it takes time. Yesterday I had a ride out for the first 
time, with the Doctor, past Lake House, as far as old 
Rounding's and back. It did me good. The weather is 
still good, luckily, and is all in my favour ; but I have 
not yet been to town, nor do I yet feel equal to business. 
My nerves are shaken, and my spirits are low generally, 



68 



MEMOEIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



though I keep as tranquil as I can. But it frets my 
heart to remain thus passive ; in fact, I cannot go on so 
much longer, but must exert myself at all hazards. I 
have received your letter by post, but not the children's, 
which I hope to have in the course of the day. I will 
answer them both; and am going to send down to 
Thames-street for the Sardines. I have had a note, too, 
from Mrs. Dilke. She says Dilke talks of coming here 

soon. I got him to ask for anything at B 's, and he 

sent me a note that was lying there from the editor of 
the " Dispatch." As I thought, he has not had my books, 
which was the only reason they were not noticed. A 
very civil note. He says : " You must be aware, that 
there are publishers who pursue courses not very con- 
cihatory with respect to criticisms on their publica- 
tions." 

Mrs. Elliot ( the Doctor is out ) has begged me to give 
you the warmest invitation. I do not know what to say ; 
if I were merely selfish, it would instantly be " Come." 
I must leave it to your own resolve whether you can 
come comfortably, and can feel secure about the children, 
for I see you are fretting yourself ill about me. Perhaps 
you could save me some trouble in inquiries, &;c. ; at all 
events, I will try to think so, and I know you will try to 
make it so. But all must depend upon your own feelings 
of what you are equal to, and how you can manage. 

If it would but help to shorten my stay here in England, 
I would say " come at once," that I may the sooner return 
with you ; for, in spite of all the kindness and comfort 
here, the constant sense that I ought to be elsewhere and 
active, makes it like being bed-ridden. You will under- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



69 



stand what I mean, for I have every care and comfort 
under this roof. 

Of course, if you come, you will come here first. I 
have no notion when you will arrive. My dinner is 
coming, so I have only time to say, God bless you all ! 

* * * * 

I bore the sight of Lake House very well till passing 
the front and looking up at that * bed-room window, the 
recollection of so much misery suffered there came over 
me like a cloud. It is all doing up smart. How beauti- 
ful it looked over the Chigwell Hills ; but a great deal of 
timber is cut down in the Park, and the church stands 
out bold and ugly. 

Pray, if you do come, be particular about the children. 
I shall long to get back again. God bless you all ! Kind 
regards to the Major. I am glad my news got first. I 
suppose it will be in the next " Athenagum." 
Stratford, 24^^ April, 1840. 

In consequence of this last letter, my mother left 
Ostend at once, and proceeded to London, going on to 
the house of their kind friends the Elliots ; from whence 
the letter, from which the following is an extract, was 
written to Mr. Dilke by my father. 

* It was at Lake House, during the alanning illness of my motliei*, 
soon after my birth, that the first blow was struck at my father's pros- 
perity. No wonder the sight of the house was the origin of sad recol- 
lections. I remember, on a later occasion, when we all went a pic-nic 
on the Forest with the Elliots, that my father spent a long time by 
himself, silently looking at the old place. — T. H. 



70 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Stratford. 

" Jane has been busy in a mercantile way — a perfect 
Tim Linkinwater in petticoats : I have been as useless 
as Mother Nickleby in trousers. I have been very low : 
but how can one have any animal spirits without animal 
food ? Of course I have not fattened, except that some 
calomel flew to my face and gave it something of the 
shape of William the Fourth's. I am become a Pytha- 
gorean, not only in my diet, but my feelings, and wonder 
how any one can eat meat. For instance, Jane has just 
lunched on a piece of cold beast. I therefore beg leave 
to thank you all the same for your wish for me at your 
dinner on Monday, but I don't eat bullock or hog. Not 
but that some ladies, and even delicate ones, make a 
* Long Lane' of their ' red ' ones — that is to say, a 
thoroughfare for the cattle out of Smithfield. But though 
I am not exactly in Paradise, my feeding is more consist- 
ent with that of our innocent first parents. Then, for 
drink, I taste the pure rill, and not the juice of squashed 
grapes, that Germans have danced in up to their hocks. 
In short, I ha ve^ left off being carnivorous, and am nice 
as to my liquids." 

The following extract from a letter of my mother's to Mr. 
Franck, will best explain the reasons that existed for their 
leaving Ostend, and settling eventually in England : — 

Camberwell, August IStk, 1840. 
" Immediately on settling in our new lodgings at Os- 
tend, Hood had set to work on his Rhine book, which 
was to have come out directly ; but his health was a sad 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



71 



hindrance to his endeavours. At this time he began to 
see but too plainly that he was not done justice to by 

B . * * * * Of course this was a most painful 

business, and worried him much. In October I was 
obliged to come to London, for Plood was busy writing, 
and Wright was very ill — indeed dying (he did die be- 
fore my return to Ostend), and he had hitherto acted for 
Hood. On my return in the beginning of November, I 
found Hood very much altered, from a severe attack he 
had during my absence ; and from this time he went on, 
one illness after another, till January, when he came to 
London to get his accounts. He was five weeks at 
Dilke's, and then, with much trouble, he returned with 
only a part. * Up the Rhine ' had come out before 
Christmas, and the first edition of 1500 went off in a 
fortnight. 

" Added to other evils, bad air, and damp house, all this 
told lamentably on poor Hood's already bad health. The 
doctors there evidently did not understand or know what to 
do. Hood wrote a statement to our friend Dr. Elliot, who 
directly wrote back to ask him to come and stay with them ; 
adding, that they had just moved into a larger house, and 
could accommodate us, our children, and servant, very 
well, and should be very glad to see us. In the begin- 
ning of August, Hood left Ostend alone to go there, as 
we could not directly leave the place, having engaged our 
lodgings for a year. He stayed a week at Dilke's ; but, 
feeling an attack coming on, set off to Dr. Elliot's, where 
he was on the first night seized with a very bad attack of 



72 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



spitting blood. The Doctor was up till two in the morn- 
ing with him ; and finding that the hemorrhage did not 
abate the next day, took blood from the arm till he faint- 
ed. This, the Doctor afterwards told me, was a very 
dangerous attack. Finding he was very ill, I got ex- 
tremely anxious to be with him, and wrote off to beg he 
would let me come. At last he consented ; and, at a few 
hours' notice, leaving the dear children in care of our 
friend here, I set off to London in the middle of May. 
Our friends the Elliots welcomed me most kindly, and I 
found that Hood had been so carefully and tenderly 
nursed by them, that my coming could add but little to 
his comforts. Indeed, they have been, and are the most 
invaluable friends. On my arrival in town, I had to do 
my best in business matters, which Hood was too ill to 
* * * * Hood has been forced to enter ac- 
tions for his own books ; and by doing this, the sale of 
the second edition of * Up the Rhine' is ruined just at 
the season, all being locked up till the actions come on in 
November. * * * * Dr. EUiot gave his opinion 
that Hood would never be so well as in England, so we 
made up our minds to come and reside here again ; but 
having much to arrange, we could not return for the chil- 
dren till about a month ago, which you, who know us, 
will suppose we gladly did, having been longer absent 
from them than we had ever been before. I confess I 
am very glad to be settled once again in my native land, 
and Hood is better too. Dr. Elliot has a brother near us 
here, also a medical man, clever in his profession, and a 
nice, friendly, sensible man. He takes much interest in 
Hood's health, which is certainly improved under his 



]\rEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



73 



care. Hood is working very hard now, as all his antici- 
pated means are locked up for the present. He is now 
engaged to publish with Mr. Colburn, and is writing ar- 
ticles in the ' New Monthly Magazine/ which are then 
to be collected in a volume. It has been gratifying to him 
to see the way in which all the public journals have wel- 
comed his appearance there ; and if it please God to 
grant him health, he would go on well here, far better 
than abroad. He needs English comforts, though I must 
fell you that he has not tasted beer, wine, or spirits, for six 
or seven months, and for three months never tasted meat. 
I believe the strictness with which he attended to Dr. 
Elliot's advice in this has saved his life — the complaint 
had got a-head so very much in that bad chmate. 

" Hood has written two articles on fishing in the new 
* Sporting Magazine,' in which he has introduced some 
hints from your letters about those new fish you have 
described : indeed, he places his fisherman on the banks 
of your Bromberg river. He will send them when he 
has an opportunity." 

* * * * 

" Tim says he, — Has n't the English mail been over- 
due at Bromberg? But I couldn't help it. I have 
worked harder than a horse, for he does nothing with his 
head but eat and drink. I shall be all right now, health 
and everything. I have made a capital arrangement 
with Colburn. But I shall suffer from that Flemish cli- 
mate for years." 

The last paragraph is an interpolation of my father's. 

VOL. II. 4 



74 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



It will be seen that they had now vSettled at Camberwell, 
not far from the Green. 

Camberwell, Nov. 19tTi, 1840. 

My dear Doctor, 
We were very much disappointed at not seeing you 
on Monday, but could easily divine the cause ; something 
akin to what keeps us from Stratford — except that your 
time is essential to the lives of others, and mine to my 
own living. We have, however, been seriously intending 
to come over : for I felt sure you would be pleased to 
find me so much improved physically, if not morally, in 
spite of adverse circumstances — the long run of wet 
weather for one. I only mention hard work — which, 
like virtue, brings its own reward — as something be- 
sides, that my health has to get ovei- — and then the 
season of the year — and yet it seems steadily to im- 
prove ! Your brother appears to have hit upon some 
medicine very congenial, if it be not that the very sight 
of him does me good (the only doubt I have of you?' 
medical skill), for an " Elliot " has always been one of 
the best exhibitors to a heart out of order. I will not 
enter on details, which probably your brother has given ; 
but to me there appears to be a decided change for the 
better. And in return for the general interest you take 
in me, you deserve to know that matters are looking up 
— there is, and will be, a struggle of course ; but from 
every quarter they say that I am writing better than 
ever, and I get on very comfortably with Colburn. Per- 
haps you saw my skirmish with B in the Athe- 
naeum ; the exposure of my private affairs was on his 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



75 



part malicious, but being falsely given, has only ended in 
his own discomfiture and dishonour. lie could not an- 
swer my charges, and did not, which people will under- 
stand. The final settlement of this affair is all that is 
necessary to clear up my mental weather. For the rest, 
I may suffer with what is called Society, because, like 
many others, I do not pretend to be a rich man ; but as I 
never sought the herd, they are welcome to shun me, as 
they did the bankrupt stag in the Forest of Amiens. 
After all, " As you like it," is the great secret, and I like 
it well enough as it is. 

N. B. I mean to come to Stratford for all this moral- 
ising; and as all my complaints have a periodical char- 
acter, most probably between this " New Monthly " and 
a new " New Monthly ; " or from the 24th of this to the 
1st of next month. But you had better prepare Willy 
for my coming in a common-place way, not so melodra- 
matically as when I seemed to have been committing 
suicide with your assistance.* 

If I were such a centaur as George is, I would oftener 
mount myself and trot over to see him ; but Willy is 
much more of a locomotive than I am; what a frisky 
engine he would be on the Eastern Counties rail- 
way ? 

Dunnie and Jeanie will have grown like two cucum- 
bers into quite another species, and May into a May-pole. 
Give my love to them all : my own " population " are 
very well, and now having filled my half I give up the 
pen to Jane, that she may write to Mrs. Elliot, to whom 

* He was ushered in to see ray father, during the bleeding spoken 
of in the letter dated April the 18th. — T. H. 



76 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



please to give my kindest remembi'ances, and say that, 
having taken again to meat, I am more stoutly than ever. 
Yours and hers very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Owing to the confused and unsatisfactory state of his 
accounts, and the undeserved shipwreck of "Up the 
Rhine" which ought to have paid well, my father's 
affairs were in anything but a flourishing condition. He 
had reasonably calculated that a work, on which he had 
bestow^ed the labour of so many painful hours, would 
have retrieved his expenses, and enable him to go on 
easily enough. Instead of this, his health had been still 
farther reduced by a dangerous illness, aggravated by 
anxiety and mental toil ; and a tedious * lawsuit for the 
fruits of his hardly earned labours (as he truly observed, 
often " attested, literally, with his blood ") w^as com- 
menced, fated to drag on its attendant care and harass 
to the end of his short life, and then remain unfinished. 
With all this, and with a weakened body, which, ownng 
to the peculiar character of his disease, he dared not re- 
cruit with ordinary stimulants, he was then obliged to 
write hard, and, during the intervals of pain and languor, 
to procure the necessary means of existence. On his 
departure from Ostend, the only copyright he ever parted 

* My sister and myself are glad to record, thus publicly, the grati- 
tude we have inherited from our father to Mr. Hook, his professional 
adviser, who conducted the case with skill and energy, and Avho firm- 
ly and consistently declined all remuneration for labours severe enough, 
and time and study long enough, to ensure success in a difficult suit. 
— T.H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



77 



with, that of " Tylney Hall," he sold to Mr. Bentley, and 
the proceeds enabled him to bring over his family and 
settle in England. He then engaged to write periodi- 
cally for Mr. Colburn in the " New Monthly Magazine," 
at that time edited by Theodore Hook. In this periodi- 
cal he wrote a series of " Rhymes for the Times," and 
his famous poem of " Miss Kilmansegg." This remark- 
able production, appearing part after part, was written 
under all these adverse circumstances, in his modest, 
almost humble, lodgings at Camberwell. A little of the 
gold, scattered so richly through it, converted into real 
coinage of the realm, might have prolonged his life, and 
would at any rate have alleviated the incessant wear of 
his mental powers. The only wonder is that mind and 
body held out so long as they did. And yet, though 
never through his life, even in the smallest meaning of 
the term, a rich man, never was there a more liberal 
hand and heart than his. He practised to the full that 
charity, of which he recognised the beauty in these 
touching words : " How kind are the poor to the poor ! 
What are the best of our gifts, the parings of our super- 
fluities, or even the 'Royal and Noble Benefaction' writ- 
ten up in letters of gold, to the generous donations of the 
humbler Samaritans, who having so little themselves are 
yet so willing to share it with those who have less ? As 
I have read somewhere, * The Charity which Plenty 
spares to Poverty, is human and earthly ; but it becomes 
divine and heavenly when Poverty gives to Want ! ' " 

Surely that was a feeling beyond mere common char- 
ity, which induced him to assist from his scanty store, so 
precarious, and so hardly, and painfully earned, many 



78 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



who applied to him for help. A help that was readily 
given by his generous heart, open to sorrow and pain, 
under any shape, or of whatever kind, not ostentatiously, 
for none but my mother knew of it. It is only by mere 
chance perhaps, that years afterwards, I have discov- 
ered traces of kindly deeds, and timely help to those in 
sorrow or want ; shillings often given, when shiUings 
were scarce, and always, at least, kind and sympathis- 
ing words. 




MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



79 



CHAPTER III. 

1841. 

Cambei-well. — Letter to Dr, and Mrs. Elliot. — *' Eugene Aram " trans- 
lated into German. — A copy sent to His Royal Highness the Prince 
Consort with a Letter. — Letter to Lieutenant De Franck. — First 
Appearance of " Punch." — Call of a " Pious " Lady. — " My Tract." 
— Mrs. Hood to Mrs. Elliot. — Letters on the Subject of the " New 
Monthly." — He is appointed Editor on the Death of Theodore 
Hook. " 

IN the December of 1840, and the January of 1841, 
my father was far from idle, and far from well, as 
will be seen from the ensuing letter. 

2, Union Row, High Street, Camberwell, 
Feb. 1, 1841. 

Dear Doctor, 

I am able at last to sit down to write a few lines and 
report progress. For, at last, I have killed her, instead 
of her killing me ; not my wife, but Miss Kilmansegg, 
who died very hard, for I found it difficult to get into the 
tone and story again after two months' interruption. 

I am pretty well again, and, as a proof, walked to 
town and back yesterday with Tom and Fanny, but feel 
to-day as if I had for the second time been learning to 
walk, which had become a strange exercise to me. But 



80 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



I hope to put myself on my feet if this weather should 
continue. Now for news. 

You will be gratified to hear that, without any knowl- 
edge of it on my part, the Literary Fund (the members 
of the Committee having frequently inquired about my 

health, and the B Business, of Dilke), unanimously 

voted me £50, the largest sum they give, and, setting 
aside their standing rules, to do it without my applica' 
tion. I, however, returned it (though it would have 
afforded me some ease and relief), but for many and well- 
weighed reasons. 

I am, however, all the better for the offer, which places 
me in a good position. It was done in a very gratifying 
and honourable manner, and I am the first who has said 
" noT But I am in good spirits, and hope to get through 
all my troubles as independently as heretofore. 

We have much more comfortable lodgings, and the 
busses pass the door constantly, being in the high road 
50 or 100 yards town ward of the Red Cap, at the Green. 
I have a room to myself, which will be worth £ 20 a-year 
to me, — for a little disconcerts my nerves. 

Jane, if not literary, is littery, — in the midst of two 
years' " Times," and " Chronicles," and sixty volumes of 
" New Monthlys," cutting out extracts towards a book of 
Colburn's. Pray offer this as her excuse for not writ- 
ing to Mrs. E . I know of no other news of the 

literary kind, save that Lady C. B is in the sanc- 
tuary (for debt) at Holyrood. We all send our loves to 
you all. If the weather lasts, I shall hope to come over 
some day to see whether Dunnie and Jeanie have 
learned to cry yet. Jane is not over well (if there be 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



81 



such a state^ for she has had a great deal of fatigue 
lately, the moving being in a hurry. The rest well, or 
seller. Jane will have some small adventures to tell 
JVIrs. Elliot when they meet. I shall only say that one 
Avas at a Court of Requests, and the other at the House of 
Correction. God bless you all, 

From, dear Doctor, 

Yours ever, very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

My dear Mrs. Elliot, 

You must have thought me very ungrateful, (which in- 
deed I am not), that I have been silent, and not long ere 
this have written to thank you for your kindness. 

The filter, &c., has arrived safe, and we are very much 
obhged. Hood says he never thought what a small house 
we are living in till the filter came, — it would not filter 
through the house, and was as difficult to place as the 
family picture in the Vicar of Wakefield. It will be a 
great comfort to Hood, he says, because he is too thin to 
drink thick water. We looked for you very eagerly on 
Monday, and though you were prevented from coming, 
we had the pleasure of enjoying the good and kind inten- 
tion. You will be glad to read Hood's favourable account 
of his health. He is certainly much better, in spite of 
all his drawbacks.* But he and I could not agree to be 
well together. I have been almost an invalid, and last 
Sunday took ill, and went to bed with an idea that I was 

* A note is hei-e inserted by myfatliei*. — " Does she mean blisters? 
I have not had any on ! Jane is not very well. I suspect from an 
antidote she has taken against the Chinese ' poisoned tea.' " — T. H. 
4* F 



82 MEMOKIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



going to keep it, but I am now much better.^ I hope you 
are all quite well. Give my love to the dear children, 
and with the same to you and the Doctor, 
Believe me, ever and ever, 

Yours affectionately, 

Jane Hood. 

While residing at this latest residence in Camberwell, 
my father received a parcel from his old friend Mr. de 
Franck, containing two copies of a German translation of 
his poem of " Eugene Aram's Dream " into German. 
Mr. de Franck had rendered the poem into German 
prose, and Herr von Riihe had versified it, both as liter- 
ally as was possible. It was published in Bromberg in 
1841. Mr. de Franck also enclosed a MS. translation 
of the German preface, which I give below verbatim, 
with De Franck's notes in Italics — it is a fairly close 
rendering of the original German " Einleitung," but com- 
ing from one who had left England so many years, the 
German idioms are rendered more accurately than 
usual, so that it bears a very German aspect on the 
face of it. 



PEEFACE TO THE GERMAN TRANSLATION OF 
" EUGENE ARAM'S DREAM." 

" Bulwer has made the Germans acquainted with 
' Eugene Aram.' The novel has its merits, but still 
more defects ; generally speaking Aram was not a fit 
subject for a noveh As to the anonymous Berlin trag- 
edy, all that can be said of it is, ' that the criminal is 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



83 



dragged over the stage on a hurdle, and {iiot quartered) 
torn into five pieces ! ' 

" Hood alone hit upon the right, and therefore the best 
management of the matter. Bulvver mentions the poem 
of Hood, and says : — Tim, says he, I have no oc- 

casion to tell you, what Bulwer says, as you will be well 
enough acquainted ivith it of course, as observed in a note 
in Bulwer's ' Eugene Aram^ and so I'll go on with what 
Mr. RiXhe says\ 

" With Mr. Bulwer's permission the matter stands 
otherwise. The praise, which this gentleman bestows 
on the poem, is just and right, as for the rest, he is 
wrong ! A man who lies in ambush for a fellow crea- 
ture and murders him, has only proved that he w^as more 
powerful, or more active, or aught else more than his vic- 
tim. If he murdered him for the sake of his gold, the 
deed is, (abstracting from all moral, and the penalty of 
the law), atrocious, despicable, even mean. It mends 
not the matter, whether the murderer be so interesting, 
that a lady might happen to fall in love wdth him : no 
matter if he is learned, — nay, it makes no amends, 
should he have even paid his professors with the gain of 
his crime. A common criminal is unworthy of being 
the hero of a novel, and he alone would think of fitting 
him up for the drama, who wants money, and leaves no 
means untried to obtain it. \K does not think it be- 
neath his authorship to extol soaps and lucifers if he gets 
paid for itJ] But there may be moments in the life of 
such a culprit, that can 'stay Art's question.' Once con- 
ceived, they must be taken, transient as they are, quickly; 
determined (comprised) and managed with brevity and 



84 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



economy. The scene of action is the human breast, the 
time so limited, tliat not a moment is to be spared. It 
is easy to see that the said alludes to Hood's poem, or 
rather that the latter is characterised by it. 

" Repentance ! * By thee alone, the common criminal 
may still be great. Thou dost raise him from the lowli- 
ness of vice, thou dost free and purify his soul ! He is 
prepared to appear before his Maker : the blessings of 
Christianity accompany him. All sophistry to excuse 
his crime is falsehood, the jury of Truth tells him so to 
his face. On the point of an ignominious death, it looks 
ill wrestling. Let him, who walks his last, take Truth 
for his comforter, for Truth alone uncloses the gates of 
salvation. So much against Mr. Bulwer, and for the poem 
{not for Buckingham, Tim ), which by-the-by speaks 
for itself. 

The translation is almost verbal, and we hope quite 
German. 

" It was necessary to treat the version more frequently 
anapaistical than it is done in the original ; there is no 
occasion to justify this proceeding in the eyes of those, 
who are competent judges ; for those who are not such, 
it is needless to mention it. 

" We refer the reader, who wishes for more information 
on Hood, undoubtedly one of the first authors of modern 
England, to the London and Westminster Review for 

* Alluding to Bulwer's obsei-vation : " Mr. Hood would have done 
better if he had represented Aram according to his siillen gloomy 
character, — rather striving to reason away his guilt, and then again 
to stare boldly in its face, instead of giving up his hero so entirely to 
repentance." — P. von F. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



85 



October, 1836, January, 1837, where his merits in litera- 
ture are largely descanted upon. Although we are not 
exactly inclined to sign our names, without restriction, to 
all that is said in those pages, it affords at least a prospect 
into Hood's universal genius, of which, by the bye, 
something better might be said. 

"Von Franck and Ruhe." 

My father was very much pleased with this proof of 
the appreciation of his works among the really cultivated 
Germans. I have said there were two copies of the 
works enclosed, one by special request accompanied by a 
letter from Herr Riihe, was sent by my father, to His 
Royal Highness Prince Albert, with a letter, the copy of 
which was found among his papers. 

May it please Your Royal Highness, 
The greatest literary honour that can befal a poem is 
its translation into a foreign language, particularly the 
German. That such a distinction had been conferred on 
any verses of mine has only just been made known to 
me by the receipt of a volume from Bromberg, with a 
request to me, to forward the copy, which accompanies 
this, to its high destination. 

Under other circumstances I should have shrunk from 
such an intrusion : but being thus unexpectedly brought 
under your Princely notice, let me crave permission to 
offer the respectful homage and loyal congratulations of 
the English author of " Eugene Aram." 

I have the honour to be, &c., 

Thomas Hood. 



86 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Cambeuwell, Surrey, April 13, 1811. 

"Tim," says he, "1 thought you had hung up your 
hat," says he, and in fact I have nearly done so, once or 
twice, on the everlasting peg ! 

Long as it may seem to you, dear Franck, since I 
have written, the time has been short enough for all I 
have had to do in it. I do not remember ever having so 
many events crammed into the same space. Between 
law, literature, and illness, 1 have been living in such a 
hurry that, often and often, for repose of body and mind, 
I have wished myself fishing again, with the other 
" chubby " fellow, on the banks of the quiet Lahn ; so I 
have thought of you, Johnny, if I have not thrown a 
line at you, for which I have always wanted either leis- 
ure, or health, or spirits, for it were ungracious to write 
merrily for the public, and vent the blue devils on my 
private letters. Moreover I have had so little of pleas- 
ant to communicate ; but I will waste no more time, or 
space, on explanations. We really have not time to play 
at cribbage ; and Jane, I suspect, has quite forgotten 
how to " take her three." I suppose she told you of the 
serious attack I had at Stratford ; since then I have had 
two attacks, one a bad one, for I lost altogether about 
fifteen ounces : indeed I feel sure another month in Bel- 
gium would have done for me. 

Ostend and the sea-air, are healthy enough in summer, 
but the rest of the year it is an unwholesome place, 
especially in the spring. The easterly winds, which then 
prevail, bring the malaria from Walcheren, and the 
Dutch swamps. It is ascertained that if you have once 
been affected by malaria, it will give an agueish and 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



87 



intermitting character to your future complaints. Of 
this I am a living instance, for I have regular bad days 
(Tuesday and Friday), with an extreme sympathy with 
wet weather, when I give like an old salt basket; this 
pleasant tendency I shall most likely enjoy for the rest 
of my days. 

But the English air has so braced the fibres, that the 
blood spitting now stops at once ; whereas in Belgium it 
kept returning every second or third day. But mine is 
a complicated case, and there is affection of the heart. 
Luckily I am excellently oflP for advice, as Dr. Elliot's 
brother, who is also a physician, resides within a quarter 
of a mile, and visits me two or three times a week to 
watch the case ; if not cured, I think the progress of the 
disease is stopped. Camberwell is the best air I could 
have. 

Oh ! Johnny, after all my Utopian drinking schemes 
of London porter, and sherry, I have not drunk a glass 
of wine for twelve months, and as for porter, have been 
disaJt?^?^^ed of even a pint of England's entire ! ! ! not even 
a glass of small single X, vulgarly called " swipes." For 
four months I never tasted animal food ! Zounds ! as I 
used to say on cattle days, one thing would now make 
my misfortunes complete — to be tossed by an ungrateful 
beast of a bullock ! 

But I have now returned to beef and mutton, and how 
delicious they are here ! What a taste of the fresh green 
English pasture ! None of your German " bif sticks," 
with no more gravy in them than walking sticks, but real 
rumpsteaks out of Smithfield oxen, that have never 
ploughed or dragged a cart (don't you call it the speise 



88 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



mr^?), juicy as the herbage, and done to a turn on the 
gridiron by " neat-handed Phillis." Jane and I are just 
going to have one for supper on purpose to tantalise you ; 
can't you fancy it in your land of fried saddleflaps ? You 
would like a bit I guess, even after the old lady, (you 
remember the old lady and the bit of brawn), but I won't 
set you against your apple soup and goose sausages ; so 
no more about English suppers, or all the other good 
things in this land of untrussed plum puddings. Glad 
am I to be back in it ! For your sake I will not regret 
Germany, but I do bitterly repent having staid so long 
in Belgium ; it was a serious loss of time, health, and 
money. 

* * * * 

I am now engaged to write some "Rhymes for the 
Times," and then think of a two volume novel. After- 
wards if I get strong enough, I shall begin a new series 
of the " Comic Annual." I have never been able to send 
you my book called "Up the Rhine," it has been re- 
printed in English at Leipsic, and is sold on the Rhine I 
understand ; some day I must send you a box. I suppose 
"to Hamburg" will be the best way. My literary re- 
ception on my return has been very gratifying. They 
say I am as well as — or better than — ever. 

By the bye, I made one or two articles out of your 
sporting information, especially the Pirsch AYagening, 
and had the drawings engraved. You shall have them 
also. Did n't you enjoy Pickwick ? It is so very Eng- 
lish ! I felt sure you would. Boz is a very good fel- 
low, and he and I are very good friends. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



80 



So much for literary news, and now for domestic. My 
health requiring me to live very quietly and regularly, 
we are no gayer than at Coblenz. But then for the 
soberness indoors what a bustle without ! London was 
always a place pre-eminent for business, to . w^hich is 
now added hissiness. Buss (plural busses) is the short 
for omnibus, which is anything but a shoi^t stage, for it 
cai'ries twelve inside and four out. We live on the high 
road, — fancy some fifty of these vehicles running back- 
wards and forwards all day long. The same in the other 
suburbs. A buss goes as fast, Tim, as ten droskys, and 
will take you three or four miles for sixpence, which is 
cheaper riding than at Berlin. To be sure, omnibusses, I 
suspect, kill horses, but the droskys kill time ! Every- 
thing in England goes at a pace unknown abroad : I 
think even the clocks and watches ! The very butchers 
seem riding trotting matches against time. When I first 
came to England I thought everybody's horse was run- 
ning away. But there is a vast increase of smoking 
shops since I left, and that may eventually make us 
slower. Well, it may be a cockney taste, but I like 
Lunnon where everything is to be had for money, and 
money is to he made, which gives it some advantage over 
even cheap places. Besides, living quietly as we do, 
positively we do not spend more than we did abroad, 
where some things are cheaper, but others are dearer 
than in England. And then the tax (universally levied 
on the English) brings the countries to a par. The 
English I think are finding it out. I have tried to open 
their eyes. As to myself, I scarcely go to tOAvn above 
once a month — we are about three miles from St. Paul's, 



90 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



SO that it is a walk for the children, and then we buss 
back, after a stroll to look at the shops, which are as 
good as an Exhibition. Very rarely I dine out — they 
dine too late for me at seven, and a cold ride through 
night air lays me up for a month. I am grown, Tim, 
quite an old man, and an invalid for good, and am as 
thin as two Wildeganses. Jane is thinner, and not so 
strong, but is not like me a teetotaller. ''■Dam my 




blood," as I say to the doctor, when I want it stopped — - 
I wonder where it all comes from ! I seem to be like 
those little red worms they bait with for gudgeon, with 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



91 



only blood and skin. And for all my temperance nobody 
gives me a medal ! One hot evening last summer as 1 
walked home I could have murdered an old fish-woman 
who stood drinking a pot of porter out of the cool pewter ! 
why could n't she drink it in the tap-room, or at the bar, 
out of my sight ? I fully expect next dog-days to have 
the Hydrophobia. But enough of myself. Have you 
heard yet in your remote out-of-the-way parts of the 
Daguerreotype? How I wish by some such process I 
could get a picture of us all — the family group just as 
we are — to send you ; then you would have me quite as 
ill-looking as my portrait, and dressed for warmth in a 
pea jacket and blue trowsers (my Ostend boat-costume). 
Jane as usual, but looking rather less puzzled than when 
she had to contend with foreign money and German 
cookery. Don't you perceive it ? Fanny tall and fair, 
Tom tall and dark, a good deal like a squirrel without a 
tail. He has fagged very hard at his books with his Ma 
till he can master the fairy work of " Midsummer 
Night's Dream," and is particularly delighted with Bot- 
tom the weaver. It 's very funny to hear him reading 
to himself, and laughing. Having some dim notion of 
mythology, he stopped short in the middle of a frisk to 
ask, " Is there a god of romps ? " Fanny is very liter- 
ary too, so that I have two critics, of ten and six years of 
age. I have been writing to prove that the rum and 
tobacco that Robinson Crusoe drank for his ague would 
have poisoned him, whereupon Tom told me that if I 
killed Robinson Crusoe, /ze wouldn't praise my works/ 
The other day he talked of a lady in Italics (hysterics), 
and at cards, called out " now, we must make a puddle ! " 



92 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



{i. e. a pool). He and Fanny are full of odds and ends, 
fairy tales and plays, and travels, and in their games it 
all comes working out like beer from a barrel. We are 
all going to the play on Saturday and shall have, I 
expect, plenty of after-pieces in consequence. Tom 
knows something of Scripture too, for we have a figure 
of Joan of Arc, and he says she is the wife of Noah of 
Ark. 

As to the books, in the beginning I thought that you 
had perhaps drawn up a manual of Infantry manoeuvres, 
then that the Princes at Antonin had edited some work 
on hunting, or fishing, and next that your father had 
composed some rules, for the management of large fam- 
ilies. Jane would have it that you had written a play for 
the Bromberg theatricals, and Fanny guessed that you 
had written a novel, something like Charlotte and Werter. 
In short we supposed a dozen different works from as 
many authors, even going so far as to imagine that 
Wildegans had been putting into verse his " Recollections 
of the Rhine." Even the sight of the book did not set 

me right, for I exclaimed " Oh ! Colonel G 's book," 

but " I thought a lie." And now how can I express my 
delight at knowing the whole truth ? Jane says I looked 
as if I was turned to red and white with pleasure ! I 
am sure she turned from red and white to all red, and 
looked as happy as if I had been transported instead of 
translated. But the next moment I was horrified, for I 
saw your name, " Von Franck," as one of the translators ! 
No fear had I on account of my friend Mr. Riihe, his 
habits qualified him for the work, but, " odds triggers, and 
blades!" ( as Bob Acres says) a Lieutenant of the 19th 



MEIMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



93 



Infanterie regiment ! Oh ! Jane ! (here I fairly groaned 
to think of it), Oh ! Jane ! We know from Dr. Weiter- 
shausen's book what sort of work a Prussian soldier will 
make of poetry ! Zounds ! he will put Eugene Aram 
into " parade breeches." Yes, he will make him march 
up and down ( see verse 7 ) " rechtsiim und Iinl'sion," the 
bludgeon will be the stick of a heerpauk, and the booty 
regularly packed in the tornistor. Confound him ! it will 
be no more like Eugene Aram than Commis-brod to 
muffins and crumpets, — all Brown Tommy and Brown 
Bess ! I actually cried dry, for I was too shocked to shed 
tears at the picture. 

But this comes, said I, of your young whiskered Sword- 
Blades that sigh so for war, and because it is peace, and 
no other butchery stirring, they must go and murder 
Eugene Aram, as well as Daniel Clarke ! For he knows, 
the Blut Egel, that in spite of all his swagger and curling 
his moustachios, there is not going to be any Krieg" 
except, perhaps, between the New Zealanders and the 
Esquimaux. And sure enough when I looked into the 
German version, in the very beginning, I found the game 
of cricket turned into Ball Spiel ; which I suppose means 
playing with bullets or cannon balls, or as we call it, 
Ball-Practice. If I had understood German, that con- 
founded military verse woidd have deprived me of all 
courage to read further; but luckily I recollected Mr. 
Riihe, who would make the matter more fit to be read by 
mn7ised people. He had not been educating his ear for 
rhythm, and musical verses, by manufacturing and proving 
muskets, carbines, and blunderbusses. A " Neisse " way 
of getting a nice ear for harmony ! He is not a man of 



94 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



blood (as the Quakers call soldiers) and will not make every 
verse like a " Uut-wurst,'' as if it had been written in East 
India, namely at Barrack-^ore. He, Mr. Riihe, will know 
better than to make Eugene Aram a blue and red usher 
at the military school in Berlin, just because Yon Franck 
was drilled there, and, what is better, he will make the 
repentant murderer read his Bible instead of his " Scliarn- 
horst," or " Astor on Fortifications." He will model the 
verse on something more musical and varied than that ever- 
lasting Rub-a-dub-dub below the walls of Ehrenbreitstein. 
In short, thank Heaven, Mr. Riilie w^ill translate, and not 
recruit me into the German service ; and leave me to be 
tried by a jury of critics instead of a court-martial ! Such 
were my misgivings when I saw your name in the muster- 
roll (I beg your pardon, the title-page), though Jane, from 
her dealings wdth French money in Belgium, thought at fir.-t 
it was the price of the book in francs. When I explained 
it, she literally screamed with surprise, and exclaimed, 
" What, Franck turned literary ! Then take my word for 
it. Hood, he has married Bettine the authoress." And 
she was as frightened as I was for Eugene Aram, though 
for a different cause, namely, your extravagant passion 
for fishing. " Franck must be very much changed," she 
said, alluding to the first verse, " if he leave you one of 
the ' troutlets in the pool.' " And in point of fact, on re- 
ferring to your German, you do make them jump here 
and there as if, as least, you had hooked them. Lord 
knows what you have made of my " Calm and Cool 
Evening," but I suppose instead of one solitary beetle, as 
in " Gray's Elegy," there is a wdiole flight of cockchafers, 
because they are such good baits for chub. Of one thing 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



95 



I can judge, for I have measured with a straw, and some 
of the lines are rather long, as if you had thrown them 
as far as you could. Moreover, I asked Fanny, who is 
the best German scholar in the family, to give me an ac- 
count of the thing, and she said that Eugene Aram 
" played " with the old man before he killed him, and 
then struck till he broke his top-joint. That when the 
body was full of gentles it was thrown into the stream for 
ground-bait^ but unfortunately the water dried up, and so 
the body was put into a heap of bran, and the wind blew 
away the bran, &c. But I cannot depend enough upon 
Fanny's acquaintance with the German language to feel 
sure of such a translation ; perhaps it may not turn out 
quite so fishy as she represents. Mind, however, that 
should it not prove to be full of ram-rod and fishing-rod, 
I shall attribute that merit to your coadjutor, for even 
Tom asked when he heard that you had been translating 
it, " Did Mr. Franck do it with his sword, and his schako, 
and his moustaches on?" (as if the last ever took off!) 
I am quite convinced that he thought you were doing 
some exercise. Tom inquired, too, why your version had 
not the pictures, and I told him it would not suit your way 
of telling the story. But a truce to banter, I will now 
be serious at turning over a new leaf: seriously, then, 
dear Franck, I feel sure that your part in the business 
has been a " labour of love ; " and I could not but be 
pleased to see our two names, as Winifred Jenkins says, 
under the same " hiverT The highest literary honour 
that a poem can receive is its translation into a foreign 
language, particularly the German. You may, therefore, 
estimate how much I feel myself indebted, as an author. 



96 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



to Mr. Riihe. Of the closeness of his version I can 
judge, but the beauty of it I must unfortunately only 
relish through the testimony of yourself and others. Yet 
it is a droll fact, Tim, that I understand twice as much 
German as I did in Germany ; perhaps what I cropped 
there, has become digested by after-rumination, as the 
cows become more intimate with the cud. However, 
the fact is plain. 

I have always felt it as a reproach that I, a literary 
man, had not mastered that literary language ; but such 
an illness as mine dissolves more than it resolves — it 
even impairs my memory, and particularly as to names, 
dates, and technicalities, in which I am at times a perfect 
" Wild-goose." Still there is another point on which I 
am able to speak — the " getting-up," as we call it, of your 
little work ; and really, as to typography and paper, it 
seemed the very best specimen of the German press that 
I have met with. The binding, too, has been much ad- 
mired, and especially pleased me by a sort of outlandish 
look, that made me feel, at a glance at the outside merely, 
that I was translated. To-day being Good Friday, and 
therefore the postal arrangements more early, will not 
allow me the pleasure of writing to Mr. Ruhe, but which 
I shall do next week. In the meantime, I will keep 
shaking the friendly hand which he extends to me so hand- 
somely, and drink his good health in the strongest bever- 
age that is allowed to Tea Hood. Pray tell him this from 
me, and that I really rejoice in the accession of such a 
member to the Freundschaft. 

By the bye, I will send you here a joke I lately made 
on Prince Albert's breaking in through the ice when 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



97 



skating, Her Majesty pulling him. out with her own royal 
hands : — 

ON A RECENT EVOIERSION. 

" Long life and hard frosts to the fortunate Prince, 

And for many a skating may Providence spare him ; 
For surely his accident served to convince 
That the Queen dearly loved, tho' the ice could rCt hear 
him" 

" Tim, says he," I shall set about getting your fishing 
tackle or making you up a box, via Hamburg ; but you 
cannot have the tackle by the time you propose, for, look 
you, to-day is the 9th (your precious almanac says the 
90th, and I suppose with your regiment it is the 19th). As 
to the two last " Comics," Tim, you have had them, for 
there have been none since. " Up the Rhine " was in 
lieu of one of them, and there has been no other. I shall 
be most happy to send my face and the " Eugene " in 
English for Mr. Riihe, and some other trifles besides ; but 

there will be some delay ; for, thanks to that B 

(would he were tried at Bailey Senior, as we genteelly 
call the Old Bailey !), everything is locked up at law, even 
my mock countenance. He has almost un-Christianised 
me, for at times I have been on the point of cursing him 
in the terms of the awful curse of Ernulphus — for which 
you must consult Tristram Shandy. 

Amongst other things, you shall have the Pirsch Wa- 
gening article, and two piscatory dialogues — one on the 
Netze, and the other the Brake — which I made out 
of your letters, and have really sketched the places very 
like the originals, considering that I have never been 

VOL. II. 5 Q 



98 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



there ! As all English reading will be welcome, you shall 
also have my New Monthly Magazines ; but N. B., with 
my articles cut out for reprinting, which you will get some 
day in a volume. Jane is horrified at my sending out " Up 
the Rhine ; " she says it contains so many quizzes on the 
Germans. But as you know, I quiz by preference my 
best friends, and it is in favor of the Germans that they 
can afford to be quizzed. It may seem a paradox, but 
only respectable people are quizzable ; nobody dreams of 
quizzing good-for-nothings and blackguards : and if " age 
commands respect " (you remember your copy-book), so 
it commands quizzing. Nothing is more common than to 
hear of an Old Quiz — generally a very respectable 
elderly gentleman or gentlewoman, but something eccen- 
tric. Long life to you^ Tim, and when you are sixty, 
look out for a good share of quizzing ! I sha'n't be alive 
to do it, but I '11 bequeath you, Tim, as a good subject, to 
some first-rate hand in the line. 

This reminds me to wonder what you are going to be 
fut out of the army for, for that is the way that we in 
England interpret the threat of a young officer's retire- 
ment. Have you been drinking Moselle out of a black 
bottle, like Captain Reynolds of the 11th Hussars? 
Jane thinks the 19 th have been ordered to shave off their 
mosquitoes (she means moustachios), and you won't sub- 
mit to it ; and Fanny supposes you are weary of wear- 
ing a " cap " without " tain " to it. For my part, I can 
only guess at military feelings, and should think it would 
be very disagreeable to leave the army without having 
killed anybody ; indeed, I think it is a reflection very likely 
to lead to suicide, or killing yourself. A civilian, indeed, 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



99 



would point with great satisfaction to a sword that had 
never hurt man, woman, or child, since it became a blade ; 
but a warrior's sentiment, I presume, must be the very 
reverse — more in the style of Korner. Mind, I 'm not 
wanting you to go and kill anybody, that I may write 
another poem about murder, but only speculating philo- 
sophically on the different feelings of civilians and un- 
civilians. 

Apropos of fighting, are you not sorry, Tim, to find 
that the knife has come so much more into vogue among 
our lower orders ? There seems to have been a sort of 
vulgar chivalry about pugilism, after all, when a man 
struck another fairly, as the Irishman said, " with nothing 
in his hand but his fist." But I suppose all sorts of fight- 
ing are coming in, for Quakerism is clearly going out. 
Few of the second generation in Quakers' families are 
friends. You had the great Mrs. Fry at Berlin. Well ! 
none of the junior Frys are Quakers. There is a great 
deal of humbug about them — one fact is admitted by a 
very clever writer of their own body, that they are par- 
ticularly worldly — a money-getting and money-loving 
people. I rather think if the law would allow them to 
refuse taxes, to serve in the army, &c., &c., we should 
have plenty of Quakers. I have lately been quizzing 
them a httle, and am at open war, as I have been with 
all canters, here called saints, — and there is an unusual 
quantity current of pious cant or religious bigotry. 

The Tories got up in England, for party purposes, fa- 
naticism against the Catholics, and a cry of " the Church 
in danger ;" now, what is called " High Church of Eng- 
landism," the higher it is carried, the nearer it approaches 



100 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



to Popeiy. I predicted the result, that it would end in 
making a sort of Pope of the archbishop of Canterbury, 
and now there is actually a schism in the High Church 
party at Tory Oxford, a Popish-Protestant section writing 
in favour of celibacy, images, &c., &c. But we have no 
fear of your turning a Protestant monk. Perhaps, when 
Amanda comes to Bromberg, you will get by degrees (of 
comparison), to think that Miss Besser is Miss Best, 
and if you once think that, you are safe from Puseyism, 
i. e. celibacy. Pray give my love to her, if we were 
nearer I might choose another word, but at this distance, 
even her Mamma could not object to the affection, — 
Jane don't ! And now, in spite of her remonstrances, I 
must tell you what happened last night, after I had writ- 
ten most of this letter. I was looking out of the window, 
at nearly dark, when a female figure stepped out of a 
coach, ran about six yards like a crab, i. e., sideways, and 
then fell flat, what the wrestlers call a fair back-fall. If 
you have ever seen any mosaic, you can fancy a figure 
inlaid, as it were, in a dark ground. 

It was Jane just returned from her mother's. You 
will be glad to hear that her fall was broken by an inch 
or two of Camberwell Road mud, after a providential 
shower of rain. I suppose it was the same feeling that 
induced Eve to make poor Adam as begrimed as herself, 
but the moment I appeared, Jane threw herself into my 
arms, and took care to make me quite as dirty. She \\'as not 
hurt, though shaken. As she came home in the dark, so 
as not to see the steps of the coach, I pronounced the 
usual verdict, — but perhaps you have not heard of that 
story — an inquest on the body of a woman, who had 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



101 



been killed by lier husband. She was a notorious cat, 
and when the coroner asked the jury for the verdict, the 
foreman gave it in these words, " Sarved her right ! " 

And now, Tim, how '5 your mother ? I must be think- 
ing of shutting up this letter, don't you wish you may get 
i but I must ask you before I close, has your mother 
sold her mangle ? which I suppose will puzzle you, and 
no mistake ! * 

I shall lose the post if I do not stop at once, so God 
bless you Johnny, aUas Tim ; what suspicious characters 
we should be for the Old Bailey with so many names ! 

The horn is blowing, and the eil-wagen is going 
out of the yard, and my stomach is full of parsnips, hot- 
cross-buns, salt fish and egg-sauce, but my heart tells 
me that I am. 

Dear Franck, 

Your loving friend, 

Thos. Hood. 

It was some time early in this year that my father 
made acquaintance with the first number of " Punch." 
He walked out with me one fine Saturday evening till 
we came nearly to Walworth. It was getting rather 
dusk, so that the shops were beginning to light up. On 
one side of the street a man was standing by a little 
table, with a Chartist petition lying on it for signature, 
to which he was drawing the attention of the passers-by. 

* I have no doubt that, whether with the maternal cognizance or 
no, poor Franck was considerably "out" in his endeavours to make 
head or tail of this paragraph, into which my father has purposely 
imported all the slang sayings in vogue at the time. — T. H. 



102 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



He accosted mj father, to his no small amusement, but 
as a rough-looking mob were gathering round, and 
it was getting late, he would not stop. We accordingly- 
stepped aside into a little bookseller's shop, till the crowd 
had abated, or passed on. My father turned over the 
papers and periodicals lying on the counter, and struck 
by the quaint little black cuts, picked up the first num- 
ber of " Punch," hereafter to be so famous. It was 
then, I believe, in very different hands, and my father 
was no little astonished to see his own name paraded 
in it, in the coolest manner possible, without his having 
even known of the existence of such a periodical.* 

During his residence at Camberwell, a ladj called 
on my father, who had been acquainted with him many 
years before. He had no very agreeable recollections 
of her, chiefly owing to having been annoyed before 
by her unasked obtrusion of her religious opinions upon 
him. Her call, therefore, was not productive of any 
very friendly manifestation on his part, and after sitting 
stiffly, and being replied to rather coldly and ceremoni- 
ously, she took her leave. The same week, however, 

* Not very long after this, it passed into the hands of my father's 
old friends, Messrs. Bradbmy and Evans, and he really became an 
occasional contributor. Through it he became acquainted with many 
of its staff. With Mr. Leech I believe he was already acquainted, and 
also with Mr. Kenny Meadows. In the number here alluded to — the 
first — my father's name appeared on the second page, in large capi- 
tals, in an announcement, whereby " Mr. T. Hood, Professor of Pun- 
manship, begs to acquaint the dull and witless, that he has established 
a class for the acquirement of an elegant and ready style of punning." 
The whole thing is in bad taste — indeed it is rather hard to discover 
whether it is not intended as a squib against my father, the advertise- 
ment ending thus — " A good laugher wanted " — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



103 



she wrote him a most unjustifiable attack on his writings 
and religious opinions. She enquired with a kind of 
grim satisfaction what good his " Whims and Oddities " 
would do his soul ? and how he would recall his levities 
in literature upon his death-bed ? My father was pretty- 
well used to attacks of this sort, but this was really 
going a httle too far, and accordingly she received a 
copy of the following, which he ever after entitled 
"My Tract." 

It is well worthy of separate publication with the " Ode 
to Rae Wilson," in any collection of " Really Religious 
Reading." 

MY TRACT. 

Madam, 

I have received your pious billet-doux, but have little 
leisure, and less inclination for a religious flirtation, and 
what (according to our Law and Police Reports) is its 
usual issue — a decidedly serious intrigue. How else, 
indeed, am I to interpret the mysterious " object " of your 
late visit, which you significantly tell me, was defeated by 
your being unintentionally accompanied by a friend ? — 
how answer for her designs on a man's person, who can 
take such liberties with his soul? The presence of a 
companion could not of course stand in the way of your 
giving me a tract or a letter or anything proper for a 
modest woman to offer ; but where can be the womanly 
modesty, or delicacy, or decency of a female, who intrudes 
on a man's private house, and private correspondence, 
and his most private affairs, those of his heart and soul, 
with as much masculine assurance as if she wore Paul 



104 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Pry's inexpressibles under her petticoats? Perhaps I 
have to congratulate myself, as Joseph Andrews did on 
the preservation of his virtue from that amorous widow, 
Lady Booby ! But whatever impropriety you intended to 
commit has been providentially frustrated, it appears, by 
the intrusion of the young lady in question, to whom, 
therefore, I beg you will present my most grateful and 
special thanks. I am as you know, a married man, and 
do not care to forget that character, only that I may be 
able to say afterwards, as you suggest, " / have gone 
astray, but now I have learned thy righteous law." 

The cool calculations you have indulged in on my 
desperate health, probable decease, and death-bed pertur- 
bations must have afforded you much Christian amuse- 
ment, as your ignorance must have derived infinite 
comfort from your conviction of the inutility of literature, 
and all intellectual pursuits. And even your regrets over 
the " Whims and Oddities, that have made thousands 
laugh" may be alleviated, if you will only reflect that 
Fanaticism has caused millions to shed blood, as well as 
tears; a tolerable set-off against my levities. For my 
own part, I thank God, I have used the talents He has 
bestowed on me in so cheerful a spirit, and not abused 
them by writing the profane stuff called pious poetry, 
nor spiritualised my prose by stringing together Scrij)tural 
phrases, which have become the mere slang of a religious 
swell mob. Such impieties and blasphemies I leave to 
the Evangelical and Elect; to the sacrilegious quacks, 
who pound up equal parts of Bible and Babble, and con- 
vert wholesome food, by their nauseous handling, into 
filthiest physic; to the Canters, who profane all holy 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 105 



names and things by their application to common and 
vulgar uses ; and to the presumptuous women, who, I 
verily believe with the Turks, have no souls of their own 
to mend, and therefore set themselves to patch and cobble 
the souls of the other gender. 

It is, I know, the policy of your faction to decry litera- 
ture, which they abhor as the Devil hates Gospel. And 
for a similar reason. For all the most celebrated authors, 
the wisest, and most learned in the ways of mankind, 
Scott, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, Crabbe, Addison, 
Butler, Pope, Moore, Burns, Byron, Moliere, Voltaire, 
Boileau, and a host of others, have concurred in denoun- 
cing, and exposing Tartuffes, Maw-worms, Cantwells, 
Puritans, in short sanctimonious folly and knavery of 
every description. Such writers I know would be called 
scoffers and infidels ; but a Divine Hand, incapable of 
injustice, has drawn a full length picture of a self- 
righteous Pharisee ; and Holy Lips, prone to all gentle- 
ness and charity, have addressed their sharpest rebukes 
to Spiritual Pride and Rehgious Hypocrisy. Are the 
sacrilegious animals aware that in their retaliations they 
are kicking even at Him ? 

In behalf of our literature I will boldly say that to our 
lay authors it is mainly owing, that the country is not at 
this hour enthralled by Priestcraft, Superstition, and, if 
you please, Popery, which by the bye, has met with more 
efficient opponents in Dante, Boccaccio, and Rabelais (pro- 
fane writers, madam), than in all the M'Neiles, M'Ghees, 
and Macaws, that have screamed within Exeter Hall. 

As for literature " palling on my soul in my dying 
hour," — on the contrary it has been my solace and com- 

5* 



106 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



fort through the extremes of worldly trouble and sickness, 
and has maintained me in a cheerfulness, a perfect sun- 
shine of the mind, seldom seen on the faces of the most 
prosperous and healthy of your sect, who, considering 
that they are as sure of going to Heaven as the "poor In- 
dian's dog," are certainly more melancholy dogs than they 
ought to be ! But what else can come of chanting " pious 
chansons " with hell-fire burthens, that to my taste, fit them 
particularly for contributions to the Devil's Album? 
Some such verses you have sent me, and I could return 
you others quite as religious — but unfortunately written 
by a minister, who, after being expelled in disgrace from 
a public foundation in London, went and robbed a Poor 
Savings Bank in the country. 

Such literature may indeed appal the soul at the hour 
of death, and such an author may justly dread an Eternal 
Review. Again, therefore, I thank God that my pen has 
not been devoted to such serious compositions, that I have 
never profaned His Holy Name with common-place 
jingles, or passed off the inspirations of presumption, 
vanity, or hypocrisy, for devout effusions. My humble 
works have flowed from my heart, as well as my head, 
and, whatever their errors, are such as I have been able 
to contemplate with composure, when, more than once, 
the Destroyer assumed almost a visible presence. For 
I have stood several times in that serious extremity both 
by land and sea — yet, for all my near approaches to the 
other world, I have never pretended to catch glimpses of 
its heaven, or of its hell, or to have had intimations of 
who among my neighbours, were on the road to one place 
or the other. . Such special revelations are reserved, it 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



107 



seems, by a Wisdom, certainly inscrutable, for the worst 
or weakest of the weaker sex, such cackling hen-prophet- 
esses as its Southcotes, its G s, and its L s. 

And verily if they be the Righteous, I am content to 
be the Lefteous of the species. 

It has pleased you to picture me occasionally in such 
extremities as those just alluded to, — and, no doubt, with 
regret that you could not, Saint-hke, beset my couch, 
to try spiritual experiments on my soul, and enjoy its 
excruciations, as certain brutal anatomists have gloated 
on the last agonies of mutilated dogs and rabbits. But 
we will now turn, if you please, from ray death-bed to 
your own — supposing you to be lying there at that 
awful crisis, which reveals the depravity of the human 
heart as distinctly as the mortality of the human frame ! 
And now, on that terrible, narrow isthmus between the 
past and the future, just imagine yourself appealing to 
your conscience for answers to such solemn questions as 
follow. And first, whether your extreme devotion has 
been affected or sincere, — unobtrusive or ostentatious, — 
humble to your Creator, but arrogant to His creatures, — 
in short. Piety or Mag-piety ? Whether your professed 
love for your species has been active and fruitful, or only 
that flatulent charity, which evaporates upwards in wind, 
and catechises the hungry, and preaches to the naked ? 
And finally, how far, in meddling with the spiritual con- 
cerns of your neighbours, you have neglected your own ; 
and, consequently, what you may have to dread from that 
Hell and its fires, which you have so often amused your- 
self with letting oflf at a poor Sinner, — just as a boy 
would squib a Guy ? These are queries important to 



108 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



your " eternal destiny," which ought to be considered in 
time ; whereas, from the tenor of your letter, it appears 
to me that you have never entertained them for a mo- 
ment, and I am sorry to add that, judging from the same 
evidence, whatever may be your acquaintance with the 
letter of the New Testament, of its spirit you are as de- 
plorably ignorant as the blindest heathen Hottentot, for 
whose enlightenment you perhaps subscribe a few Mis- 
sionary pence. 

I implore you to spend a few years, say twenty, in this 
self-scrutiny, which may be wholesomely varied by the 
exercise of a little active benevolence ; not, however, in 
sending tracts, instead of baby-linen to poor lying-in sis- 
ters, or in volunteering pork chops for distressed Jews, or 
in recommending a Solemn Fast to the Spitalfields weav- 
ers, or in coddling and pampering a pulpit favourite, but 
in converting rags to raiment, and empty stomachs to full 
ones, and in helping the wretched and indigent to " keep 
their souls and bodies together ! " 

And, should you ever relapse and feel tempted to write 
religious Swing letters, such as you have sent to me, let 
me recommend to you a quotation from a great and wise 
writer, and moreover a namesake of your pious mother. 
It runs thus, — " I find you are 'perfectly qualified to make 
converts^ and so, go, help your mother make the gooseberry 
pie.^^ 

Still if you will and must indite such epistles, pray ad- 
dress them elsewhere. There are plenty of young single 
" men about town " (and of the very sort such saints are 
partial to — namely, ''''precious " sinners) who no doubt 
would be willing to discuss with you their " experiences," 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



109 



and to embrace you and your persuasion together. But 
on me your pains would be wasted. I am not to be con- 
verted, except from Christianity, by arrogance, insolence, 
and ignorance enough, as Mrs. Jarley says, " to make one 
turn atheist." Indeed, the only effect of your letter has 
been to inspire me, like old Tony Weller, with a profound 
horror of widows, whether amorous or pious, for both 
seem equally resolute that a man shall not " call his soul 
his own." 

And now. Madam, farewell. Your mode of recalling 
yourself to my memory reminds me that your fanatical 
mother insulted mine in the last days of her life (which 
was marked by every Christian virtue), by the presenta- 
tion of a Tract addressed to Infidels. I remember also 
that the same heartless woman intruded herself, with less 
reverence than a Mohawk Squaw would have exhibited, 
on the chamber of death ; and interrupted with her jar- 
gon almost my very last interview with my dying parent. 
Such reminiscences warrant some severity ; but, if more 
be wanting, know that my poor sister has been excited 
by a circle of Canters like yourself, into a religious 
frenzy, and is at this moment in a private mad-house. 
I am. Madam, 

Yours with disgust, 

Thos. Hood. 

In the August of 1841 * Mr. Theodore Hook died, 

* I may mention, apropos of Mr. Hook's name, that, in " The New 
Spirit of the Age," published by Mr. Home in 1844, that gentleman 
by a mistake of a single letter gave to Mr. Hoorf the pages descriptive 
of Mr. Hoo^\ My father was no little amused to discover that he was 
a " diner-out and a man about town," and that he had given the world 



110 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



and Mr. Colburn sent to ask my father to replace him. 
This intelligence was speedily communicated to the 
Elliots by a joint letter. 

August 31s«, 1841. 

Dear Mrs. Elliot, 

Mr. Golburn's Mr. S has been here to offer Hood 

the editorship of the " New Monthly " ! There 's good 
news. I have scarcely wits to write to you ; but you, 
our kindest and best friends in adversity, must be the 
first to rejoice with us at better prospects. Perhaps you 
may not have heard of Mr. Theodore Hook's death, 
which happened a week ago. We have had some anx- 
iety whether Mr. Colburn, with the disadvantages of 
Hood's having been of late unable to do anything for 
the Magazine, would consider him competent. I have 
thought of it night and day, and truly thankful am I to 
God for the blessing. I cannot settle my thoughts to 
write, for the messenger of good has only just left, and I 
am in what the servants call a " mizzy maze." Hood, 
with all the proper dignity of his sex, is more calm and 
sedate upon the subject ; and begs, as all is not yet set- 
tled, that you will not mention it to any one. 

Love to you all. 

Your ever affectionate, 

Jane Hood. 

" unfavourable views of human nature." Mr. Home afterwards cor- 
rected the error, and wrote to my father in explanation. A very 
amusing reference is made to this in the " Echo*" It is curious that 
Mr. Horne himself was similarly mistreated by " The Chronicle," 
which, in speaking of some Reports of Mr. Home's quoted by Lord 
Ashley, stated that they were due to the energy and research of Mr. 
Horner. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Ill 



Mr DEAR Friends, 

It was only a semi-official visit of S 's. Still a 

very good chance — perhaps having spitten so much 
blood away, I am not quite so sanguine as Jane. Time 
will show. Seriously it would be comfort at last, and, I 
think, go far to cure me of some of my ailments. Should 
I get appointed, be sure the editor will come and show 
himself at Stratford to receive your congratulations. 
God bless you all ; kisses for all my little dear friends, 
and love to the big boys. 

Yours most truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Sept 2nd, 1841. 

My dear Mrs. Elliot, 
All is settled, and Hood is to be the editor of the 
" New Monthly " ! We were, until this morning, on 
" tenter hooks," and so it seems was S , who under- 
stood he was to hear from Hood when he had made up 
his mind, but not hearing, came over to know why. I 
saw Mr. Dilke yesterday, who could not tell us what 
Hook had. So Hood has accepted it on the understand- 
ing he is to receive the same as he did. S , in an 

awkward way, said he knew he might say 200/. ; but we 
saw by his manner that it had been more. So Hood 
stuck to his text of the same as Mr. Hook, and of course 
it will be so, for I see they are eager to have him, and 
Mr. Dilke says that Hood's name will be a good card 
for them. 

The prospect of a certainty makes me feel " passing 
rich." Poverty has come so very near of late, that, in 



112 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



the words of Moore's song, " Hope grew sick, as the 
witch drew nigh." I know how dehghted you will both 
feel that it is now a certainty. Hood was poorly yester- 
day, but it was the delay and uncertainty : to-day he is 
pretty well, and getting on with his writing. He says 
you may now suppose the Magazine on his lap ; and 
really thinks, considering the circumstances, that he 
ought to be allowed his porter. As a beginning, Dr. 
Kobert has promised him a spicy article* on Mustard 
and Pepper, and Miss B a political essay on Rus- 
sian Influence over British Infants. 

This is a most disgraceful letter for the wife of an edi- 
tor, I must say ; but you must make allowance for me — 
I am in a dream, and my sentences and my expressions 
have all the obscurity of that twilight state. 

Hood and the children unite in love to you all. Kisses 
for the dear little " shining faces " that go to school. God 
bless you all. 

Yours affectionately, 

Jane Hood. 

Monday Evening, Sept. 17th, 1841. 

Dear Mrs. Elliot, 
This very evening it is settled that Hood is to be the 
editor at 300/. a year, independent of any articles he 
may write, which are to be paid for as usual. Since we 
saw you, we have had much anxiety about it, as there 

* The name of a favourite thoroughbred Dandie Dinmont terrier 
belonging to Dr. R. EUiot. Miss B. was British-born, but reared iu 
Russia. Her sister was married, and had, at that time, one baby, 
to which Miss B. performed the part of the most affectionate of aunts, 
and the most indefatigable of nurses. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



113 



has been great delay, Mr. Colburn being at Hastings, 
and wishing to get him to take 200/. However, it is now 
quite settled, and we look forward with cheerftil and 
thankful hearts. Hood continues very well for him, and 
threatens you very soon with an onslaught. Dr. Robert 
was to have driven him over, but happens to have a lady 
patient in the way, and declines killing her to suit that 
purpose. Hood has been so much better lately, that he 
has been able to write both for his volume and for the 
magazine, which is lucky, as the month is so far gone. 
Of course he is anxious to make his first appearance as 
editor with eclat. One great advantage is, it will give 
him a certain standing. There have been a great many 
applications for it, and it is pleasant he did not apply. 
Hood begs me to say you must expect an alteration in 
him, as, like other editors, he must be very mysterious 
and diplomatic. 

I hope, in the leisure of the early part of next month, 
that we shall be able to give our children the treat of 
coming to see you and yours. They look forward 
eagerly to it, and send their love, in which Hood and 
myself unite. It 's so dusk, I can hardly see to finish ; 
but in all, or any, lights, or shadows. 

Believe me ever, dearest Mrs. Elliot, 
Yours affectionately, 

Jane Hood. 

At the end of this year my father removed from Cam- 
berwell, and took lodgings in Elm-Tree Road, St. John's 
Wood, overlooking Lord's cricket-ground.* 

* After his removal to St. John's Wood, my father used to have 

H 



114 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



little modest dinners now and then, to which his intimate friends were 
invited. Though the boards did not groan, sides used to ache, and if 
the champagne did not flow in streams, the wit sparkled to make up 
for it. Quiet at large parties, at these little meetings my father gave 
full rein to his fun, and many will sigh over this note when they think 
of the merry dinners they used to have. On one occasion, to my 
mother's horror, the boy fell up stairs with the plum-pudding. The 
accident foniied a peg for many jokes, amongst others, a declaration 
that the pudding, Avhich he said was a Stair, not a Cabinet one, had 
disagreed with him, and that he felt the pattern of the stair-carpet 
breaking out all over him. At these times, too, he would often set 
everyone laughing by his apt misquotations of Latin, none of which 
can be now remembered unfortunately, for he had a rare facility for 
twisting the classics. We " kin " were allowed to share in the fun of 
these meetings, and can remember Mr. sitting with his handker- 
chief across his knees, crying, chuckling, and laughing, until the fear 
of having a coroner's inquest in the house, and a verdict of " Unjusti- 
fiable Comicide " made my father stop and give his victim time to 
recover. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 115 



CHAPTER lY. 

1842. 

Removed to St. John's "Wood. — Elm Tree Eoad. — Letter to Lieut. De 
Franck. — Mrs. Hood to Lieut. De Franck. — Letters to Dr. and 
Mrs. Elliot, Mr. Charles Dickens, and Lieut. De Franck. — Contin- 
tinued Illness. 

THE beginning of this year the King of Prussia vis- 
ited England, and it was almost expected by my 
father that Mr. de Franck would accompany him. But 
it was not to be, and in consequence my father wrote the 
following letter to his old friend, who was now stationed 
at Hamburg. 

February 20<ft, 1842. 

Tim, says he, 

You can't be a Jew or you would n't live in Ham. 

I made cock-sure of you, when you did not answer 
our last letter, that you were coming with the king ; why 
did n't you ? I think it will make me disloyal to Fred- 
erick that he did n't bring you. 

However write soon, and I will send to you what has 
long been made up, and let me know what tackle you 
want. I have a " Comic " for you, and for Mr. Riihe, 



116 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



w ith, a letter, and one for Prince Radziwill, to your care. 
It has come meanwhile to a second edition. 

As editor of the New Monthly Magazine, I stand 
higher than ever ; there was great competition for it, but 
I did not even apply, and was therefore selected. If you 
can give me any genuine German information at any 
time, it will be very serviceable, anything new. You 
will find in the " Comic " your account to me of the stag 
shooting at Antonin, &c., the Harrow Story, and so on ; 
so that if you can give me any more sporting, it will be 
acceptable. I shall be highly honoured by any from 
Their Highnesses ; you will also receive " Up the Rhine," 
which you have perhaps seen already, as it was reprinted 
at Leipsic. This is such a short month for editors I must 
not write more. 

I believe, thanks to our dear Dr. Elliot, I have got 
over the blood-spitting, but England has a capital cli- 
mate after all, as is proved by the life-tables. 

Mind, come and see us, and won't we have some fun ? 
God bless you Tim, says 

Your faithful friend, 
(in great haste), Thos. Hood, E. N. M. M. ! ! ! 

P. S. There are several very nice young English 
ladies in this country quite disengaged ; I do not know 
how many exactly, but will answer for five or six. 

EXTRACT FROM MRS. HOOD's LETTER. 

" We have had a splendid summer, and Hood has been 
out of town a few days at a time, which has been of great 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



117 



benefit to his health. He certainly is better (if it will 
but last !) than I have known him for several years, and 
if there was no east wind he would be almost well. But 
both he and Fanny were so possessed with the malaria 
at Ostend, they are most sensitive to east winds, and damp 
or misty weather. Tom and his papa spent a week at 
Twickenham, where the Dilkes have got a cottage for 
the summer months ; they fished in the Thames, and 
came back as brown as gypsies. 

* * * * 

" Hood says he supposes that now you 're in the ' John 
d'Ai'merie,' in the excess of your new zeal you have ap- 
prehended yourself, or that you have been burned with 
the rest of the rubbish in the confla^jration of Humbug 
(Hamburg) ; only that he makes sure you would not 
have gone near enough to the fire to scorch those beauti- 
ful moustachios of yours." 

Here follows an interpolation of my father's. 

" Hood will copy at the end the direction to he sent on 
the box. I am pretty well, much the same as Hood, but 
my wife is not over strong, neither is Jane, and Mrs. 
Hood seems to be no better than she is, but I hope she will 
mend, and so does Hood. As to Johnny, he is as well as 
can be expected, but Hood does not expect he shall ever be 
very strong again ; so we must all make the best of it, 
the Editor and all, who seems to sympathise in his ailments 
with me, and Hood, and Johnny ; but he cannot expect to 
be better than we are, for he and we have the same com- 
plaint, a sort of monthly eruption, which we think is bet- 
ter ' out ' than in ; my wife, Jane, and Mrs. Hood call it the 



118 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



* Magazine' It is a sort of hlach and white literary rash 
of a periodical nature, chiefly affecting the head ; as yet 
none of the children have caught it'' 

" What a rigmarole Hood has written during my ab- 
sence, but you are used to his tricks." 

The following letter was written by my mother to 
Franck. The words in brackets were written in by my 
father over the words, which precede them in print, and 
were intended to mean that they were clear copies of my 
mother's writing, to enable Franck to come at the sense 
of her communication : 

17, ELM TREE ROAD, 

ST. JOHN'S WOOD, 

REGENT'S PARK, 

LONDON. 

[Jane don't -write plain — so mind my version. — T. H. 

My dear Franck, 
We quite wonder at not hearing from you. I wrote to 
you at Ham (Hum), very soon after we were settled 
here, and begged (bagged) you to let us know the source 
(sauce) for sending you the " Comic," (chronic) also to in- 
quire what fishing (flirting) tackle you wished to have, or if 
the needles (noodles) would be too late. I repeat all this 
in case (cake) you may not have received my letter (but- 
ter) . As you did not write we began to speculate on the 
chance of your coming (coursing) over with His Majesty, 
and on the day of his arrival, and for one or two after, we 
expected you to walk in. Hood even saw a Prussian 
(Parmesan) cloak (maggot) come down the road (mad) 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



119 



and made (snake) sure you were the man in it. We will 
not be cut off with a fortnight, remember. Hood bids 
me say we don't make " happorth's " (papporths). We 
spent a very delightful Christmas (mizmaze) at the El- 
liots, for they are such kind friends and so pleasant, and 
we had our dear (damd) children with us so that we 
could not fail to enjoy ourselves ; I hope you spent a 
merry (muzzy) one too. We have been gay for us lately, 
going to several dinner parties, one this week at the El- 
liots, and one next week, a literary dinner, given (queen) 
by Mr. Colburn. Soon after that, he is going to give a 
large evening party (pasty). We took the children to 
the theatre, to see a pantomime (Jacobin), and they were 
in ecstacies, though Tom had been to Covent Garden 
(gander) before, when he came from Ostend (Astoria) to 
London. 

If I don't lock up my letter in my desk, this is a speci- 
men of the way it is commented on, but you know of old 
how ill I am treated in these matters. Mrs. Elliot was 
saying the other day that strangers would think " Jane " 
a most extraordinary person from the odd stories that 
Hood tells of her. 

* * * * 

17, Elm Tree Road. 

My dear Bradbury, 

Pray accept my best thanks for the Froissarts, I am 
really obliged for them. Mrs. Hood begs me to add her 
best acknowledgments for the flower books. 

I suppose the form of giving up my blocks was gone 
through yesterday, but if no inconveiiience to Evans, I 



120 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



shall be glad if he will keep them a little longer : I never 
had any objection to the custody, and we may have more 
to do with them. 

By way of variation of work, I am drawing a little. I 
hope to hit on something worth sending. Such a lovely 
day up here ! I have been trying to whistle like a black- 
bird, and have some hope of getting into the daily papers 
as a harbinger of spring heard in St. John's TVood. 

Everybody now seems to have his monomania (you 

have your D ), a spectre ominous as the Bodach 

Glas, in Rob Roy, to the Highland Family. Could n't 
" Punch " make something out of Sir Robert going to the 
House in a cuirass for fear, with his back marked thus for 
a shot ? 




Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

P. S. There seems such a panic I should not wonder 
at some Irish gentleman shooting himself for fear of being 
shot. 

What do you think of a little Guide-book, to be called, 
" Every man his own McNaghten ? " But I beg your 
pardon, I forgot that you are a marked man, and will not 

see any joke in the thing. Only take care that D 

does not steal any of your type to cut into slugs ; it would 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



121 



be so very unpleasant to be sliot through the head with 
your own Small Caps. 

17, Elm Tkee Road, St. John's Wood, Mmj llih, 1842. 
Tim, says he, what a dreadful fire ! The English will 
sympathise strongly with the Hamburgers, who are their 
old commercial allies. The city must be a long time in 
recovering from such a calamity. I sincerely hope no 
friends of yours have suffered. I got all the fishing 
tackle six weeks ago ; along with it I have sent two fflass 
baits, the last invention and novelty, one of which is for 
yourself, and the other please to present for me to the 
Prince. The little leaden caps are to put on the line at 
the head of the bait, as without the cap the fish would not 
spin. 

Yesterday a sporting clergyman dined with me, and I 
was glad to hear him say that he has tried the glass bait, 
and it is veiy killing. I also send for yourself an imita- 
tion gold-fish. It appears that there is something in the 
colour or taste of the gold-fish that renders it irresistible 
to other fish, as a bait. They are quite mad after it. It 
appears to me to be intended to be sunk with a weight, 
and pulled about under water, or else to float on the 
top ; but they say it is taken in any way. I send two 
" Comics" (one for Mr. Euhe), and the "Up the Rhine" 
for yourself. If you can easily get me a copy of the Ger- 
man edition of " Up the Rhine," published at Leipsic, 
you can bring it when you come. There is a recent dif- 
ficulty about sending letters in packets or parcels, so I 
must write to Mr. Ruhe per post. And now observe, the 
box will be sent in a day or two after this letter. It is 

vol. II. 6 



122 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



directed to Mr. F. Weber, Breiten Giebel, care of Messrs. 
C. J. Johns & Sons, Hamburg, and marked with 

Thank God, I seem to have got over my 

old complaint ; but I have suffered much from rheuma- 
tism. It has been very general amongst people here, the 
east wind having blown inveterately for a whole month. 
I was quite disabled, but luckily I had a whole magazine 
in print beforehand, what you would call in reserve. I 
congratulate you on your promotion, and the success of 
your application to the King: of course you will now 
marry, for want of something to do. And now, Johnny, 
I must say good bye, for I am crippled in the right arm, 
as well as right foot. To aggravate these evils, our draw- 
ing-room overlooks Lord's Cricket ground, and I see the 
fellows playing all day, add to which, once or twice a 
week, a foot-race for a wager. But it is of the less im- 
portance that I can only write a short letter, as we are to 
see you this summer. Your best way would be by 
Hamburg packet direct to London. God bless you, Tim, 
says he, 

Your faithful friend, 

Thomas Hood. 

I forgot to say I thought a new fly-line would be useful 
to you, and so send one for your acceptance. The two 
Sporting Magazines contain two articles of mine on fish- 
ing in Germany. Our merchants in two days have sub- 
scribed £ 7500 for the Hamburgers, and are going to send 
them shortly £ 10,000. I am glad of this. 

Good bye, 

Tim H. 




MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



123 



The very taking gold-fish bait, described in the letter, 
was, with the directions for its us, the sole invention of 
my father. It was carved in two halves, out of deal, 
painted and joined with gum, so that after a short immer- 
sion one half would detach itself and float away, leaving 
the other attached to the line, and inscribed (by an en- 
caustic process, with a hot knitting needle) with the words 
— "Oh! you April fool!" that month being the season 
when it would probably be first used. 

The result of the hoax was never heard, but it struck 
my father afterwards that the generous Franck would 
most likely present the unique bait to one of the Princes ! 
Many a time did he laugh at the horror Franck would 
feel in having been made an accomplice, after the fact, in 
such a practical joke on Royalty. 

17, Elm Tree Road, Monday, July llih, 1842. 
My dear Mrs. Elliot, 
Here we are again — the babes in the Wood of St. 
John — all safe and sound. Jane having successfully 
" bussed " her children all the way home ; but a little 
fatigued from getting her " baggage " so far without any 
^'porter." 

You will be pleased to hear that, in spite of my warn- 
ings and forebodings, I got better and betterer, till by 
dining as the physicians did on turtle soup, white-bait, 
and champagne, I seemed quite well. But I have always 
suspected the doctors' practice to be better than their 
precepts ; and particularly those which turn down Diet 
Street. The snug one dozen of diners however turned 
out to be above two (in fact twenty-seven) — two others, 



124 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Talfourd and Macready being prevented. Jerdan was 
the Vice, and a certain person, not very well adapted to 
Jill a Chair was to have occupied the opposite Virtue, 
but on the score of ill-health I begged off, and Captain 
Marrjat presided instead. On his right, Dickens, and 
Monckton Milnes, the poetical M. P. ; on his left. Sir 
John Wilson, T. H., and for my left-hand neighbour 
Doctor Elliot50?i, which seemed considerately contrived 
to break my fall from Stratford. The Kelso man was 
supported by Foster, and Stanfield the painter. Amongst 
the rest were Charles and Tom Landseer. Tom two 
stone deafer than I am, and obliged to carry a tube. 
Father Prout and Ainsworth; these two men at paper 
war, — therefore some six, including a clergyman, were 
put between them. Proctor, alias Barry Cornwall, and 
Barham, otherwise Ingoldsby, Cruikshank, and Catter- 
mole, a Dr. Gwynne, or Quin, and a Rev. Mr. Wilde, 
who greatly interested Dr. Elliotson and myself : a tall, 
very earftest-looking man, like your doctor, only with none 
of his Sweet-William colour, but quite pale ; and the more 
so for long jet-black locks, either strange natural hair, or 
an unnatural wig. He was silent till he sang, and then 
came out such a powerful bass voice, fit for a Cathedral 
organ — to a song of the olden time, that between phys- 
iognomy, costume, vox, and words, the impression was 
quite black -letterish. I had never seen him before, but 
seemed to know him, traditionally, somewhere about 
Cromwell's time. Nevertheless some of his reading had 
been more modern and profane, for when we broke up, 
he came and shook hands with me, to my pleasant sur- 
prise, for I seemed to have ascended to antiquity, whilst 
only aiming to descend to posterity. 



MEMORIALS OF TH0:MAS HOOD. 



125 



Well we drank " the Boz " with a delectable clatter 
which drew from him a good warm-hearted speech, in 
which he hinted the great advantage of going to America 
for the pleasure of coming back again ; and pleasantly 
described the embarrassing attentions of the Transatlan- 
tickers, who made his private house, and private cabin, 
particularly public. He looked very well, and had a 
younger brother along with him. He told me that two 
American prints have attacked me for my Copyright let- 
ters in the " Athenaeum," so I shall procure them as a 
treat for "Jane." Then we had more songs. Barham 
chanted a Robin Hood ballad, and Cruikshank sang a 
burlesque ballad of Lord H ; and somebody, un- 
known to me, gave a capital imitation of a French show- 
man. Then we toasted Mrs. Boz, and the Chairman, 
and Vice, and the Traditional Priest sang the " Deep 
deep sea," in his deep deep voice ; and then we drank to 
Proctor, who wrote the said song ; also Sir. J. Wilson's 
good health, and Cruikshank's and Ainsworth's ; and a 
Manchester friend of the latter sang a Manchester ditty, 
so full of trading stuff, that it really seemed to have been 
not composed, but manufactured. Jerdan, as Jerdanish 
as usual on such occasions — you know how paradox- 
ically he is quite at home in dining out. As to myself, I 
had to make my second maiden speech, for Mr. Monckton 
Milnes proposed my health in terms my modesty might 
allow me to repeat to you, but my memory won't. How- 
ever, I ascribed the toast to my notoriously bad health, 
and assured them that their wishes had already im- 
proved it — that I felt a brisker circulation — a more 
genial warmth about the heart, and explained that a cer- 



126 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



tain trembling of my hand was not from palsy, or my old 
ague, but an inclination in my hand to shake itself with 
every one present. Whereupon I had to go through the 
friendly ceremony with as many of the company as were 
within reach, besides a few more who came express from 
the other end of the table. Very gratifying, was n't it ? 
Though I cannot go quite so far as Jane, who wants me 
to have that hand chopped off, bottled, and preserved in 
spirits. She was sitting up for me, very anxiously, as 
usual when I go out, because I am so domestic and 
steady, and was down at the door before I could ring at 
the gate, to which Boz kindly sent me in his own car- 
riage. Poor girl ! what would she do if she had a wild 
husband instead of a tame one. 

In coming home Dickens volunteered to bring Mrs. 
Dickens to see us on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I shall 
be obliged to put them off till next week, as I shall be at 
Wantage. So that it seems probable I shall be able to 
Jix them for an evening, and then of course you will 
come, unless you should happen to be at " Don't Want- 
age." 

The children, stuffed with happy remembrances of 
Stratford Le Beau, send their loves wholesale and retail, 
and as Jane and I can unite in that, we do. 

I am, 
My dear Mrs. Elliot, 
Yours and the Doctor's very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

We hope Dr. Robert will dine with us at the H 's 

to-morrow. If he does, won't we quiz him about the 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



127 



new carriage, and exhibit a wife, " to be taken," as 
the medicals say, "in an appropriate vehicle." He 
ought not to have that great Cupid's hand with a 
dart in it on his harness for nothing. God bless you 
alh — T. H. 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, Monday. 
My DEAR Dickens, 

Only thinking of the pleasure of seeing you again, 
with Mrs. Dickens, on Tuesday or "Wednesday, I never 
remembered, till I got home to my wife, who is also my 
flapper (not a young wild duck, but a Remembrancer of 
Laputa), that I have been booked to shoot some rabbits 
— if I can — at Wantage, in Berks. A reverend friend, 
called " Peter Priggins," will be waiting for me, by ap- 
pointment, at his railway-station, on Tuesday. But I 
must and can only be three or four days absent ; after 
which, the sooner we have the pleasure of seeing you 
the better for us. 

Mrs. Hood thinks there ought to be a ladies' dinner 
to Mrs. Dickens. I think she wants to go to Greenwich, 
seeing how much good it has done me, for I went really 
ill, and came home well. So that occasionally the diet 
of Gargantua seems to suit me better than that of Panta- 
^ruel. Well, — adieu for the present. Live, fatten, 
prosper, write, and draw the mopuses wholesale through 
Chapman and Haul. 

Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 



128 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



17, Elm Teee Road, Oct 11th. 

Dear Dickens, 
Can you let me have an early copy of the " American 
Notes," so that I may review it in the " New Monthly ? " 
Is it really likely to be ready as advertised ? I aim this 
at Devonshire Place, supposing you to be returned, for 
with these winds 'tis no fit time for the coast. But your 
bones are not so weather unwise (for ignorance is bliss) 
as mine. I should have asked this by word of mouth in 
Devonshire Place, but the weather has kept me in doors. 
It is no fiction that the complaint, derived from Dutch 
malaria seven years since, is revived by Easterly winds. 
Otherwise I have been better than usual, and "never 
say die." Don't forget about the Yankee Notes : I never 
had but one American friend, and lost him thro' a good 
crop of pears. He paid us a visit in England; where- 
upon in honour of him, a pear tree, which had never 
borne fruit to speak of within memory of man, was 
loaded with 90 dozen brown somethings. Our gardener 
said they were a keeping sort, and would -be good at 
Christmas ; whereupon, as our Jonathan was on the eve 
of sailing for the States, we sent him a few dozens to 
dessert him on the voyage. Some he put at the bottom 
of a trunk (he wrote to us) to take to America ; but he 
could not have been gone above a day or two, when all 
our pears began to rot ! His would, of course, by sym- 
pathy, and I presume spoilt his linen or clothes, for I 
have never heard of him since. Perhaps he thought I 
had done him on purpose, and for sartin the tree, my ac- 
complice, never bore any more pears, good or bad, after 
that supernatural crop. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 129 



Pray present my respects for me to Mrs. Dickens. 
How she must enjoy being at home and discovering her 
children, after her Columbusing, and only discovering 
America. 

I am, my dear Dickens, 

Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Do you want a motto for your book ? Coleridge in 
his Pantisocracy days, used frequently to exclaim in 
soliloquy, " I wish I was in A-me-ri-ca ! " Perhaps you 
might find something in the advertisements of Oldridge's 
Balm of Columbia," or the American Soothing Syrup " 
— query. Gin twist ? 

17, Elm Tree Road, Friday. 

My dear Dickens, 

Just read the enclosed, and if your voice and interest 
are not otherwise bespoke, it would really oblige me 
could you give them in favour of Mrs. K . 

Dr. Elliot is a physician, well-known, and in exten- 
sive practice. He brought my wife almost miraculously 
through a desperate illness, at Wanstead, and myself 
through tlie most dangerous of my attacks in his own 
house. He and she are, indeed, of those good people 
after your own heart, and of whose existence one might 
be sceptical but for such living examples. They have 
been as brother and sister to me ; and if a man can have 
two homes, my second one is in their house. So, you 
see, I have good cause to wish to meet their wish in 
this matter ; and it may fortunately happen, that you are 
not especially interested for any candidate. 

6* I 



130 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Tou will meet the Elliots one day, if, as I hope, you 
and Mrs. Dickens will spend one sociable evening with 
us and a few friends — the Dilkes, &c. Is it likely you 
will have an open night for this purpose in the beginning 
of next month ? 

I called lately in Devonshire Terrace, during a morn- 
ing ramble with Mr. H . My purpose was chiefly 

to congratulate you on the success of your American 
book, of which privately I have heard the highest com- 
mendations. 

I hope you did not dislike the notice in the " N. M. M." 
I could not pretend to a review, or to extract much, the 
dailies and weeklies having sweated your Notes as if they 
had been sovereigns. 

We are all dying now for !Mrs. Dickens's Notes. Our 
kindest regards to her. 

I am, 
My dear Dickens, 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Last week there were some sheets stolen of a work 

printing at B H for the use of a rival publisher. 

I thought we should have a touch of the American system 
here. Then there are those " American Notes *' by Buz, 
advertised from Holywell Street, — of course a piracy ! 
It is hard for an individual author or publisher to proceed 
against men of straw. There ought to be a literary 
association for the suppression of piracy — a fund sub- 
scribed by authors, booksellers, and friends to letters, out 
of which to proceed against the first offender, similar to 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 131 



the provincial associations for the prosecution of felons 
— Eh? 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, 

Saturday Evening, Nov. 12th, 1842. 

Dear Doctor, 

I have but just heard from Dickens, who has been out 
of town, I suspect, hunting for a locality for his next tale. 
At least he was twice in the country when T called lately. 
I am sorry to say his interest at the Sanatorium has 

been pre-engaged. It appears to me that Mrs. K 

has come rather late into the field, and Dickens implies 
that the candidates are very numerous. Here follows 
his answer : — 

" I can't state in figures (not very well remembering 
how to get beyond a million) the number of candidates 
for the Sanatorium matronship, but if you will ask your 
little boy to trace figures in the beds of your garden, 
beginning at the front wall, going down to the cricket- 
ground, coming back to the wall again, and 'carrying 
over' to the next door, and will then set a skilful accountant 
to add up the whole, the product as the Tutor's Assistants 
say, will give you the amount required. I have pledged 
myself (being assured of her capability) to support a 

near relation of Miss E 's ; otherwise, I need not 

say how glad I should have been to forward any wish of 
yours." 

He adds : — " We shall be more than glad to come to 
you on any evening you may name." So that we shall 
hope to see you all together, so soon as I have got 
through this magazine, into the thick (and thin) of which 
I am just wading. 



132 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



In the meantime, I have written to Dilke, on the 
chance that he may know some of the Sanatorium com- 
mittee ; and Jane is writing to your brother, to know if 
he has any voice in the new Camberwell Church organ 
— that is to say, in the commission. Nothing but can- 
vassing — which reminds me of Berlin wool-work, and 
that recalls Mrs. Elliot. Pray tell her Jane has some 
new patterns. 

She commissioned Franck to send her some for slip- 
pers, but wrote the word so badly that he asked what 
new English articles were dippers'' However, the 
patterns came, at least as far as the front gate, by the 
parcels-cart, and then went away again for, not living 
near any shop, we sometimes run quite out of change, 
and in the whole house could not muster 35. ^d. for 
carriage and duty. However, she has obtained them at 
last, and I really think her head has been u'oo/'-gathering 
ever since I suppose your brother's accident hap- 
pened during his idleness at Cheltenham, or was it about 
the date of the new family vehicle ? When I told Jane 
of it, she directly said, " I have a great mind to go over 
and see him about the Camberwell Organ," for which 
read the Organ of Curiosity ! The 6th was her birthday, 
and we had a few young friends, and performed two 
charades, so we are pretty well. 

Give our love to all, including the new Grammar 
School boy. 

Of course he can tell now what mood " May " is in. 
Jeanie, I know, is the Potential. 

I am, my dear Doctor, 

Yours very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



133 



Have you seen the advertisement of Dr. Laycock's 
mystics in the " Lancet " ? Or that headed " Cheraia 
Antiqua," in yesterday's " Athenaeum," offering to select 
a number of Pupils, premium 200 guineas, an induction 
to the Hermetic Science, and a shy with the Philoso- 
pher's Stone ! ! ! 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. Johj^'s Wood, Monday. 

My dear Dickens, 
Will the 6th of December suit you to spend an even- 
ing with us ? If you or Mrs. Dickens should happen to 
be engaged, we will name another date to get sociable on. 

I ought to tell you of two remarks from two Publish- 
ers, but to one effect, viz., that in reference to the pro- 
posed association for the defence of copyright, the 
authors being most interested ought to pay double ! ! ! 
How fond they are of profitable practical jokes ! 

Yours, ever truly, 

Tnos. Hood. 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. Joh:s's Wood, Thursday. 
My dear Dickens, 

" The more the merrier," which I suppose is the rea- 
son of such a mob of mourners at an Irish Funeral. 

Many thanks, therefore, for your friendly additions to 
our little edition of a party. We shall be most happy to 
see Mrs. Dickens's sister (who will, perhaps, kindly 
forego the formality of a previous call from Mrs. Hood), 
and, as to Maclise, I would rather be introduced to him, 
— in spite of " Mason on Self-knowledge," — than to 
myself. 



134 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Pray tell him so much, and give him the " meet." 

I fancied one day that I saw coming out of your house 
a younger Brother, who dined with us at Greenwich, 
would he object to come with you ? But I will not sug- 
gest, Mrs. Hood having just desired me to send you the 
enclosed, which you must consider on both sides to com- 
prehend.* 

Yours, ever truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

* I do not know what the enclosure was, but I remember on one 
side my father painted a white vehicle on a black ground, thus giving 
Mr. Dickens a carte blanche to bring whom he pleased. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



135 



CHAPTER y. 

1843. 

Elm Tree Road. — Letters to Mr. Broderip and Dr. Elliot. — Letter to 
the Secretaries of the Manchester Athenaeum. — Letter to Mr. Dick- 
ens. — Death of Elton and Benefit at the Haymarket for the Family. 
— He writes an Address for it, to be spoken by Mrs. Warner. — Let- 
ters to Lieut. De Franck and Mr. Dickens. — He takes a Trip to 
Scotland. — Letters to his Wife. — Dundee and Edinburgh. — Let- 
ters to Mr. Dickens and Dr. Elliot. — " The Song of the Shirt." — 
" Punch." — " Pauper's Christmas Carol." — Prospectus of " Hood's 
Magazine and Comic Miscellany." 

THE following letter is to the late Mr. Broderip, whose 
works on Natural History are well known, and de- 
servedly admired. His papers in the " New Monthly," 
" Recreations in Natural History," and subsequently his 
" Recollections and Reflections of Gideon Shaddoe " in 
" Hood's Magazine," were great favourites with my 
father, who looked forward to the MSS., as one looks 
forward to a new number of a magazine, that suits our 
fancy. 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, April Qth, 1843. 
My dear Sir, 
I admire, and shall have much pleasure in again read- 
ing, your seasonable poem in the " New Monthly ; " it 



136 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



breathes not only of spring, but the spring feelings which 
inspire true poetry. I am glad to hear of more " Recrea- 
tions " for the next number, being partial to Natural 
History, and certainly preferring it, as no doubt you do, 
to the Unnatural Histories called novels, romances, &c., 
in the present day. 

I am, my dear Sir, 

Yours very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

17, Elm Tree Eoad, St. John's Wood, 
Thursday, April IStk, 1843. 

Dear Doctor, 

Accept our heartiest congratulations. We were de- 
lighted to see your note, for we were getting very anxious, 
but did not like to write on that account ; I am not made 
Laureate, or I would write an ode on the occasion. 

Jane will come as soon as Mrs. Elliot is well enough 
to see her. She is servant-hunting, so I am obliged to 
be, what she calls, her " manuensis." 

I did go last night to W 's, being in fact pretty 

well, in spite of the east winds. I have been working 
hard with pen and pencil, besides some extras on my 

hands, such as Lord L and B . I must not 

write more, except that we all join in love to you all, and 
Jane says it 's beautiful weather for babbies, only they 
can't walk out ; and the printers will keep Easter holi- 
days, and the editors can't, in consequence. 

What is the title of the new article in your Maga- 
zine ? 

If you find him de trop, there is a chance for you in 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



137 



Boy's distribution. Raffles are epidemic. So are mono- 
maniacs. The comet is an intermittent. Tiie aerial 
carriage is flying gout, a lame affair ! The income tax 
will be chronic : and I am, 
Dear Doctor, 

Yours ever truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

Thursday night, 1843. 

Dear Doctor, 
We did not forget the wedding-day, but drank the 
health of the pair, with earnest wishes for their long and 
lasting happiness ; of course they are now in the midst 
of "honey and B's:" Bliss, Brighton, Baths, Billows, 
and Beach. 

I thank you for your congratulations on my gout, but 
fear it is " no such luck," I am more likely to have the 
cold aguish rheumatism. I have got rid of the " agony 
point " of the game, but the progress seems very slow — 
in accordance with other sluggish characteristics, my foot 
continues swelled, and so tender I can hardly put it to 
the ground ; I don't believe therefore it can be a long- 
standing complaint like the gout. 

You do not say how Mrs. Elliot got over her fatigue, 
so we hope it was not worth mentioning. Give all our 
loves to all, and pray tell Dunnie and Jeanie they will 
hear from me as soon as I can write a good foot. 
I am. Dear Doctor, 

Yours ever truly, 

Thos. Hood. 



138 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



The next letter is addressed to Dr. Elliot's eldest son, 
who was being educated as a civil engineer. My father 
had sent him a book on the Steam Engine, forwarded to 
him in his editorial capacity, which was an incapacity, as 
he says, as far as reviewing it went. The Flying Fly 
alluded to was an aerial machine, projected (but not far 
from the earth) by some speculators. The Dover En- 
gineering mentioned was the driving of the railway tun- 
nel through Shakspeare's cliff. 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, April 21st, 1843. 
Dear Willie, 
You owe me no thanks, the book is in better hands 
than mine. I have not the organ of constructiveness, and 
made sure that by the help of the sledges at the foun- 
dry, you would hammer more out of the volume than I 
could. 

Till lately, such was my ignorance, I thought the En- 
gineers were the Fire Brigade. 

And even yet I do not rightly understand what you 
make at those factories along the river-side, except a 
noise, enough to render the Thames fishes deaf, as well 
as dumb. Of what use then could such a book be to me, 
who have no more notion of engineering than a Zoologi- 
cal monkey of driving piles ? I hastily read a few pages, 
but understood little, except about fastening cross beams 
with two ties, which being like a counsellor's wig, seemed 
to me the legal way. The railroad matter was quite be- 
yond my comprehension, especially the necrological mode 
of laying down sleepers, which I should have thought 
belonged to medical practice. I hope you have no hand 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



139 



or finger in the construction of the Flying Fly at Black- 
wall ; some people insist rather inconsistently, that it 
•will never ascend because it is a bubble, but you engi- 
neers know best. By the bye, your operations at Dover 
do the profession great credit, you beat the doctors hollow. 
Give your father as much Dover's powder as he pleases^ 
and see if he can mine into a gouty foot, and blow out its 
chalk. I rather think I have an engineer among my 
correspondents. He signs himself Screw-tator, constantly 
quotes from Dr. Lever, and speaks of carrots and turnips 
as wedge-ahles. He even dines, I am told, at a French 
house, that he may ask for a pully instead of a chicken. 

Good night ! I would write more, but I have scien- 
tifically lighted my candle, and I am going mechanically 
to bed. 

Yours, dear Willie, 

Very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

Talking of Engineering, it is strange that Brunei 
never calculated on one great use of the Thames Tunnel, 
namely, to give the Cockneys at Easter a hole holiday. 
I forgot how many thousands of Londoners had a dri/ 
dive under the river. Some day, I predict, the tunnel 
will become a great water-pipe. And I 'm a prophet. 

I foretold, in the last month's Magazine, that the Comet 
would blow up the Waltham Abbey Powder Mills. 

The following letter from my father, was in answer to 
one from the Secretaries of the Bazaar Committee for 
the benefit of the Manchester Athenaeum. These gen- 



140 - MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



tlemen desired leave to place his name on the list of 
their patrons. My father's letter was printed and sold at 
the Bazaar. 

(From my bed.) 
17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, July 18th, 1843. 

Gentlemen, 

If mj humble name can be of the least use for your 
purpose, it is heartily at your service, with my best wishes 
for the prosperity of the Manchester Athenoeum, and my 
warmest approval of the objects of that Institution. 

I have elsewhere recorded my own deep obligations to 
Literature — that a natural turn for reading, and intel- 
lectual pursuits, probably preserved me from the moral 
shipwreck so apt to befal those w^ho are deprived in 
early life of the paternal pilotage. At the very least my 
books kept me aloof from the ring, the dog-pit, the tav- 
ern, and the saloons, with their degrading orgies. For 
the closest associate of Pope and Addison, the mind ac- 
customed to the noble, though silent discourse of Shak- 
spere and Milton, will hardly seek, or put up with low 
company and slang. The reading animal will not be 
content with the brutish wallowings that satisfy the un- 
learned pigs of the world. Later experience enables me 
to depose to the comfort and blessing that Literature can 
prove in seasons of sickness and sorrow : how power- 
fully intellectual pursuits can help in keeping the head 
from crazing, and the heart from breaking ; nay, not to 
be too grave, how generous mental food can even atone 
for a meagre diet ; rich fare on the paper, for short 
commons on the cloth. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 141 



Poisoned by the malaria of the Dutch marshes, my 
stomach for many months resolutely set itself against 
fish, flesh, or fowl ; my appetite had no more edge than 
the German knife placed before me. But luckily the 
mental palate and digestion were still sensible and vigor- 
ous ; and whilst I passed untasted every dish at the 
Rhenish table d'hote, I could still enjoy my " Peregrine 
Pickle," and the Feast after the Manner of the Ancients. 
There was no yearning towards calf's head a la tortue, or 
sheep's heart ; but 1 could still relish Head a la Brun- 
nen^ and the " Heart of Mid-Lothian." Still more re- 
cently it was my misfortune, with a tolerable appetite, to 
be condemned to Lenten fare, like Sancho Panza, by my 
physician, to a diet, in fact, lower than any prescribed by 
the Poor-Law Commissioners, all animal food, from a 
bullock to a rabbit, being strictly interdicted, as well as 
all fluids, stronger than that, wdiich lays dust, washes 
pinafores, and waters polyanthus. But the feast of 
reason and the flow of soul were still mine ! 

Denied beef, I had Bulwer and Cowper; forbidden 
mutton, there was Lamb ; and, in lieu of pork, the great 
Bacon, or Hogg. Then as to beverage ; it was hard, 
doubtless, for a Christian to set his face, like a Turk, 
against the juice of the grape. But eschewing wine, I 
had still my Butler, and in the absence of liquor, all the 
Choice Spirits from Tom Browne to Tom Moore. Thus 
though confined physically to the drink that drowns kit- 
tens, I quaffed mentally, not merely the best of our own 
home-made, but the rich, racy, sparkling growths of 
France and Italy, of Germany and Spain ; the cham- 
pagne of Moliere, the Monte Pulciano of Boccaccio, the 



142 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



hock of Schiller, and the sherry of Cervantes. De- 
pressed bodily by the fluid that damps everything, I got 
intellectually elevated with Milton, a little merry with 
Swift, or rather jolly with Rabelais, whose Pantagruel, 
by the way, is equal to the best gruel with rum in it. 

So far can Literature palliate, or compensate, for gas- 
tronomical privations. But there are other evils, great 
and small, in this world, which try the stomach less than 
the head, the heart, and the temper ; bowls that will not 
roll right, well-laid schemes that will " gang aglee," and 
ill winds that blow with the pertinacity of the monsoon. 
Of these Providence has allotted me a full share ; but 
still, paradoxical as it may sound, my burthen has been 
greatly lightened by a load of hooks. The manner of 
this will be best understood by a feline illustration. 
Everybody has heard of the two Kilkenny cats, who 
devoured each other ; but it is not so generally known, 
that they left behind them an orphan kitten, which, true 
to its breed, began to eat itself up, till it was diverted 
from the operation by a mouse. Now the human mind, 
under vexation, is like that kitten ; for it is apt to prey 
upon itself unless drawn off by a new object, and none 
better for the purpose than a book. For example, one 
of Defoe's ; for who, in reading his thrilling " History of 
the Great Plague," would not be reconciled to a few 
little ones ? 

Many, many a dreary weary hour have I got over 
— many a gloomy misgiving postponed — many a 
mental and bodily annoyance forgotten by help of 
the tragedies, and comedies, of our dramatists and 
novelists ! Many a trouble has been soothed by the 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



143 



still small voice of the moral philosopher; many a 
dragon-like care charmed to sleep by the sweet song of 
the poet ! For all which I cry incessantly, not aloud 
but in my heart, " Thanks and honour to the glorious 
masters of the pen, and the great inventors of the press !" 
Such has been my own experience of the blessing and 
comfort of Literature and intellectual pursuits ; and of 
the same mind, doubtless, was Sir Humphry Davy, who 
went for " Consolations in Travel " not to the inn, or 
the posting-house, but to his library and his books. 
I am, Gentlemen, 

Yours very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, Wednesday. 
My dear Dickens, 
Make any use you can of my name, or me, for the 
purpose you mention. I would add my purse, but 
unluckily just now there is nothing in it, thanks to 
B . 

Many years ago, when I wrote theatrical critiques for 
a newspaper, I remember pointing out a physiognomy, 
which strongly prepossessed me in favour of its owner, 
as indicating superior intelligence. It was that of poor 
Elton, who was then undistinguished amid a group of 
dramatic nebulae. The name brought him vividly to my 
memory, along with the scene of the tragedy, which is 
familiar to me. In fact I once passed in very calm 
weather between the two Fern Islands, on one of which 
was a lighthouse, and the man in charge, possibly the 
father of Grace Darling, waved his hat to us. 



U4 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 

How touching that description in the newspapers of 
the two children, prattling unconsciously of trifles, whilst 
the vessel was going down under them ! 

I have been intending to write to, or call on you, but 
besides B v. Hood, I have been ill, and in conse- 
quence, my article for this month is not yet finished. 
That will be a sufficient excuse with you for my non- 
attendance to-night at the Freemasons' Tavern. But it 
is of the less consequence as my feelings being so en- 
tirely in unison with yours in this matter, you will be 
able to speak not only your own, but those of 

Yours ever truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

The following address was written by my father at the 
request of Mr. Dickens. It was delivered by the late 
Mrs. Warner at a theatrical benefit night at the Hay- 
market Theatre.* The proceeds went to the fund raised 
for the children of poor Elton, the actor, who was 
wrecked off the Fern Islands. 

ADDRESS. 
Hush ! not a sound ! no whisper ! no demur ! 
No restless motion — no intrusive stir ! 
But with staid presence and a quiet breath, 
One solemn moment dedicate to Death ! 

{A pause.') 
For now no fancied miseries bespeak 
The panting bosom, and the wetted cheek ; 

* I remember the occasion very well, as we had a box at the Hay- 
market. I believe !Mr. Macready acted Hamlet that night, and after 
the close of the tragedy Mrs. Warner spoke the address. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



14^ 



No fabled Tempest, or dramatic wreck, 

No Royal Sire washed from the mimic deck, 

And dirged by Sea Nymphs to his briny grave ! 

Alas ! deep, deep beneath the sullen wave, 

His heart, once warm and throbbing as your own, 

Now cold and senseless as the shingle stone ; 

His lips, so eloquent, choked up with sand ; 

The bright eye glazed, — and the impressive hand, 

Idly entangled with the ocean weed, — 

Full fathom five, a Father lies indeed ! 

Yes ! where the foaming billows rave the while 
Around the rocky Ferns and Holy Isle, 
Deaf to their roar, as to the dear applause 
That greets deserving in the Drama's cause. 
Blind to the horrors that appal the bold, 
To all he hoped, or feared, or loved, of old — 
To love, — and love's deep agony, a-cold ; 
He, who could move the passions, moved by none, 
Drifts an unconscious corse. — Poor Elton's race is run ! 

Weep for the dead ! Yet do not merely weep 
For him who slumbers in the oozy deep : 
Mourn for the dead ! — yet not alone for him 
O'er whom the cormorant and gannet swun ; 
But, like Grace Darling in her little boat, 
Stretch out a saving hand to those that float — 
The orphan Seven — so prernaturely hurled 
Upon the billows of this stormy world. 
And struggling — save your pity take their part — 
With breakers huge enough to break the heart ! 

17, Elm Tree Road, August Uth, 1813. 
My dear Johnny, 
What a noise you have made about my silence. Wh 

VOL. II. 7 J 



146 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



did n't you write in the interval? You, you, you, who 
have half-pay for doing nothing, whereas I am only half 
paid for doing everything. Besides I have to write till 
I am sick of the sight of pen, ink, and paper; but it 
must be a change to you to scribble a bit after your fish- 
ing, shooting, boar-hunting, and the rest of your idle 
business at Antonin. Besides you know what leisure is, 
I don't. Why, for one half the month I have hardly 
time to eat, drink, or sleep, to say nothing of twiddling 
my moustaches, if I had any, or sucking myself to sleep 
with a German pipe. How unlike you, who have so 
much time that you can hardly know how to kill it, you, 
who, however you may wish for war, can lie, sit, or 
stand, yawn, and snore, in such profound peace, that if 
you are not all overgrown with duck-weed, like a stag- 
nant pond, it 's a wonder. 

What indeed ! why could n't you write to yourself in 
my name ? which would hare improved your hand and 
your mind, and kept your English from getting rusty. 
For you have no correspondence, you know, like mine, 
with dozens of poetical ladies, old and young ; and pro- 
saic gentlemen ; and if you do write articles, the Editors 
have refused them, for I have never met with any in 
print. But it all comes from your ignorance, and your 
living in that calm, phlegmatic country, called Germany, 
where you travel through life in slow coaches, with the 
wheels locked, and have no notion of the railway pace at 
which we wear ourselves out here in England, or at least 
in London, and then go off. Bang, by apoplexy, hke dry 
gunpower, whilst you die fizzing and whizzing at leisure 
like " Devils." I don't mean Satans or old Nicks, but 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



147 



the wildfire so called at school, if you can remember so 
far back, or if you ever ^^wented'' to school, of which 
your strange grammar sometimes suggests a doubt. 
Seriously, my dear Johnny, you cannot imagine the hur- 
ry I live in, like most of my contemporaries, but aggra- 
vated in my case by frequent illness, which makes me 
get into arrears of business, and then, as the sailors say, 
I have to work double tides to fetch up my lee-way ; or, 
I might have said, to scratch my figure-head with the cat 
harpins by way of splicing the mainbrace, for you know, 
you inland lubbers know nothing about ships or nauticals. 
I could show you a German engraving of a ship with 
four masts, not set up in the middle, but along the side ; 
the vessel by way of finish sailing stern foremost, at ten 
knots an hour. Sometimes at the end of the month, I sit 
up three nights successively, Jane insisting on sitting up 
with me, so that we see the sun rise now and then, as 
well as you early birds in Germany. Then we are 
obliged to visit and be visited, which we shun as much 
as we can, but must to some extent go through, as I am 
a sort of public man. Mind this does not mean keeping 
a public-house, as you may think from the sound, and 
your oblivion of English. . My position therefore entails 
on me some extra work ; for example this last month I 
was made a Patron of the Manchester Athenagum, and 
wrote for them a long letter on the benefits of literature, 
which has been printed ; and on the back of that job, a 
poetical address delivered at the Haymarket theatre, at 
the benefit for the seven children of an actor, just 
drowned in the wreck of a steam ship. But of all, the 
hardest work is writing refusals to literary ladies, who 



148 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



will write poetry, and won't write it well, I wish you 
would come and marry a few of them, which would per- 
haps reduce them to prose. 

Well, besides all these labours, I have had on my 
hand two law-suits, one at law, and one in equity or 
Chancery, and which will be decided at the end of the 
year. So you see, Johnny, I have not been silent through 
idleness. 

In reality, I have begun one or two letters, but could 
not finish them while they were fresh, besides which we 
have had dreams of seeing you : so that, one morning, 
when your king was over here, I did say to myself, 
" there is Franck ! " for a Gog, about your height, in a 
Prussian military cloak, actually came down the hill op- 
posite ; and, as we do not live in a thoroughfare, we sup- 
posed you must be coming to the house. A graver figure 
that followed I guessed was Mr. Riihe ; but you were 
not you, and Riihe was not Riihe. As the dramatist 
says, " I had thought a lie." Well, I suppose you will 
come some day, when Jane is a palsied, blind, old woman, 
and I am in my second childhood, sucking a lollypop, 
and " uppards of ninety." At present, we are only in a 
ripe middle age ; but she wears best, as you may sup- 
pose, when I tell you that, only this spring, we had a 
party at which she danced ! and what is more, with the 
Sheriff of London for her partner (whose official duty it 
is, you know, to superintend all " dancing on nothing "), 
and he said that she danced very lightly, considering that 
she was not hung. 

So, you see we are alive, if not kicking, w^hich will 
comfort you for the present. In a post or two, you will 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



149 



have a longer and more particular letter : and, in the 
meantime, we do not ask for your reasons for not coming, 
which we suppose to be as good as our own for not writ- 
ing. We give you credit for the best intentions, and 
shall live in hopes of seeing you long before you are a 
colonel. 

Fanny is very well, and so is Tom junior, and both 
send their love to you. My messengers being absent, 
they are going with great alacrity to carry this to the 
post, having read your melancholy letter, and being per- 
suaded that you were going into a consumption beyond 
the cold water cure. 

Jane is gone to town, or she would have had a finger 
in this ; but she will have a hand in the longer epistle, of 
which this is the avant courier. But, mind, it will not be 
quite so big as to come by that heavy after-post-wagen 
that carries packages instead of packets. In the mean- 
time she sends her love to you. 

I have but a moment more before post-time ; and then, 
when I have done, I shall go and take a look out of the 
drawing-room window at Lord's Ground, where the Eton 
and Harrow scholars are playing their annual match at 
cricket ! Does not that sound English to you, old fellow ? 
or have you forgot that there are such things in the world 
as bats and stumps ? I should like to knock your bail 
off with a ripping ball ! I tried to make a match up the 
other day, but had two doctors in my eleven, who had so 
many patients to bowl out that they could not come to 
the scratch — if you know what that is ! 

I am much flattered by the kind remembrances of the 
19th. Pray offer my respects to their officers, with my 



150 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



thanks for the honour they have done me in their mem- 
ories. 

God bless you ! and 

Believe me, my dear Franck, 
Yours ever truly (but rather rheumatically), 

Thomas Hood. 

17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, Monday. 
My dear Dickens, 
I have made up my mind to be off this week to Dun- 
dee, thence to Edinbro', and home by Leith. Will you, 
therefore, oblige me with a line of introduction to Lord 
Jeffrey and Professor Napier, with both of whom, I be- 
lieve, you are intimate. I may be able to write an occa- 
sional review in the Edinbro'." 

I long to have a talk with you on matters in general, 
and, but for that other trip, should have taken a day at 
Broadstairs on purpose ; for we have never yet had a 
regular gossip, or comparison of " Notes." 

I have two other poems, planned some time since, 
rather favourite subjects, and to be illustrated like the 
German ones, " Fridolin," " The Song of the Bell," 
" The Fight with the Dragon," &c. I think these would 
be more likely to suit Chapman and Hall. 

I suppose you got my long letter the other day, directed 
to Broadstairs. 

Good-bye, and God bless you all, says 
Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Note. — At this time, my father set off, taking me 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



151 



with him, for a short trip to see his relatives in Scotland. 
My recollections of the visit are tolerably vivid, especially 
when aided by a note-book, in which I took very rough 
sketches of the scenery. The incident of the mad gentle- 
man I most distinctly remember, and don't expect to 
forget while I live. My father was received with open 
arms by the Scotch ; and, having a little Scotch blood in 
him, was not slow in meeting their advances. He used 
at hotels always to go into the public coffee-room, w^here 
his genial disposition and courtesy invariably got him a 
good reception. I dare say there are many still living, 
Avho remember that thin, serious-looking gentleman, who 
often set the table on a roar " by an unexpected turn or 
a dry remark, and who was so fond of a certain brown- 
skinned urchin, much given to the devouring of books. 
To any such, I take this opportunity of returning my 
thanks for the great and unvarying kindness I met with 
wherever I went, for the sake of my father. Nor shall 
my thanks cease with that early period. Up to this 
present hour, for the same reason, the mere mentioning 
of my name in any part of England has ever insured me 
a welcome, such as people are wont to give when they 
recognise in a stranger the son of an old and valued 
flimiliar friend. — T. H. 

Dundee, Friday Morning^ Sept. 15th^ 1843. 
Here we are safe and sound, red and brown, my own 
dearest, after an excellent passage ; Tom tolerably sick 
most of the first day and night, and I too, once ! but am 
much better for it. I was very much out of sorts when 
I left, and we had a very rolling swell, added to which. 



152 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



about a steamer there is a smell of oil and smoke mixed, 
which particularly offends my sense. We saw little, 
being obliged to go outside of Yarmouth Roads in the 
night, so that yesterday morning we were out of sight of 
land, and only got a distant view of Flamborough Head. 

Luckily there was a whale blowing, to Tom's great 
delight. We have made a very good passage, arriving 
here about seven this morning. 

But imagine yesterday, while finishing our dinner, 
down came into the cabin a gentleman we had never 
seen before, announcing, " Ladies and gentlemen, I don't 
know whether you are aware of it, but we are all in im- 
minent danger : the fires are out, and the captain don't 
know where we are ; the ship is sinking, and you will all 
be at -the bottom in a few minutes." At first I was a 
little alarmed, not hearing what he said, for I had left 
Tom on deck, who was too squeamish to come below, but 
thinking, when I heard better, that he was some fool who 
had got frightened, I went up, brought Tom down, and 
said with a laugh to the passengers, '* then my boy shall 
go down in good company ! " — for some looked scared. 
Luckily the prophet of ill-luck did not go into the ladies' 
cabin, where many of them were sick, or we should have 
had screams and hysterics. It turned out that he was 
insane. 

I remembered seeing the man rather mysteriously 
brought on board at Gravesend, and shut into the cap- 
tain's private cabin on deck. It seems, after a day there, 
he got violent, and insisted on coming out. All the rest 
of the evening he did nothing else but go about address- 
ing everybody, and particularly the captain, in a style 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



153 



that shocked weak nerves : — " We are all going (throw- 
ing up his hands), you will be all at the bottom in a few 
minutes, and no one left to tell the tale. She is settling 
fast forwards ! Captain, captain, do you know where 
you are ? Are you aware that the fire is out ? Look, 
look forward there, she is going down. Good Heavens ! 
and nobody seems aware of it, and you (to me) won't 
care about it, till you are making a bubble in the water ! 
Good Heavens ! what day is it, sir ? (to another), Thurs- 
day ! no such thing, sir, it is Saturday, but no matter, it 
is your last day ! And what a destruction of property, 
this fine vessel and all her cargo." 

He harped a good deal on this, for it was said he had 
lost his own property. The steward meanwhile dogging 
him all over the ship, lest he should jump overboard ; 
but in the evening they got him in again, and locked him 
up, and he is safe landed. 

You may tell Dr. Elliot that he would have charmed 
a phrenologist, for whenever he Avas not waving his arms, 
or holding them up in despair, the fingers of both hands 
were behind his ears on the organ of destructiveness, i. e.- 
the wreck. This is not a joke, but fact : it was a very 
remarkable action. 

We have put up, pro tempore, at an hotel ; we have 

had breakfast and a ramble. I could not find R. M , 

but left my card at the G s : it was so early they 

were not visible. We shall go down by a train to the 
North Ferry, cross by the boat to the South Ferry, 
where there is an Inn, at which I shall put up. In the 
meantime, if you write on the receipt of this, direct " Post 
Office, Dundee." 

7* 



154 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



I ^vill let you know directly my plan is formed, how 
long I shall stay here, or at the Ferry. Tom has been 
very good and happy, and looks a good deal better al- 
ready ; I feel very much better, and those on board, who 
remarked my illness, congratulated me on the change, so 
it must be visible at all events. 

Dundee, at first sight, was much altered in one respect, 
owing to the march of manufacture. To the east a re- 
markably fine crop of tall chimneys had sprung up in 
lieu of one, — all factories. But I suspect they have 
been going too fast. The harbour much improved, other- 
wise much as before ; filthy morning gutters, and plenty 
of bare legs and feet. Luckily the Post Office is next 
door, so that you will be sure to get this in good time. 
The boat was very handsomely and commodiously fitted 
up : a number of separate little rooms, in each two beds ; 
Tom and I had one to ourselves ; it contains window, 
lamp, washstand, towels, water at will from a cock, in 
short very different to the " Liverpool " and the like. 
And we were all very sociable, so that the time did not 
seem long. 

I did not go to bed, as I like my head high, and slept 
both nights on one of the sofas. 

You may now make yourself quite easy about me, I 
feel that I shall be much better for it ; I sadly wanted a 
change, and this is a complete one. I have banished all 
thoughts of bookery, and mean to take my swing of idle- 
ness, not always the root of all evil. As soon as I get 
settled at the Ferry, however, I shall finish the article on 
Temperance by the help of whiskey toddy, but that need 
not be put in the paper. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



155 



The weather promises to be fine, in which case we 
shall spend as much time as possible out of doors. 

I am glad to see Tom looking quite himself again, he 
is quite a Spaniard already, red and brown. He sends 
his love to Ma and Fanny, and promises plenty of draw- 
ings, for he began on board with his sketch book. God 
bless you, my own dearest. Do not fail to drink your 
port wine. Love to dear Tibbie. 

Your own ever, 

Thomas Hood. 

September, 1843. 

My own Dearest, 

I received yours the day before yesterday, having had 
to send for it to Dundee. On Friday we came here, to 
the Ferry, and I engaged a bed, but my Aunt would not 
hear of it, and made me come to her house at once, 
where we have been ever since. It is a very nice house 
and garden, and we are made much of, and are very com- 
fortable. Tom is as happy as can be, and they are much 
taken with him. AVe are living on the fat of the land. 
Tom has milk-porridge for breakfast, — " baps," " cook- 
eys," jelly, &c., and I have good ale and whiskey, — and 
both are much the better — greatly so in looks. I shall 
go by a steamboat from here to Leith, some day this 
week, so you must not write again to Dundee, but to the 
post-office, Edinburgh. 

On Sunday, I went with my aunt to hear her minis- 
ter, — one of those who have seceded. He preaches in 
a large school-room, but at the same time through a win- 
dow into a large tent adjoining ; a temporary accommo- 



156 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



dation, whilst a new church is building, in opposition to 
the old one, — something in the spirit of the old Cove- 
nanters. The minister and family take tea here at six, 
which will shorten this. He and I got on very well. I 
write very hastily, expecting every minute to be sum- 
moned. I am looking at a hill (out of a back window) 
covered with sheaves, for it is the middle of harvest. 
Tom is off, — the minister's two boys are coming, and he 
has made a crony of one already. My aunt and uncle 
take kindly to him ; they admire his reading and his 
spirit, though they have, of course, some misunderstand- 
ings between English and Scotch. My aunt has given 
him a pencil-case of her brother Robert's, who was a 
" scholar at College." I expect to be delighted with 
Edinburgh, and shall probably go from here Friday 
next. 

And now, God bless you, my own dearest. Kiss my 
Tibbie for me. I shall send to Dundee to-morrow to 
see if there are any letters, but from this side the boats 
are not frequent, and the ferry opposite Dundee is three 
miles off, — a long pull there and back. Be sure and 
take your wine, and drink the health of 

Your own affectionate 

Thos. Hood. 

Wednesday, 

Ferry Port-ox-Craig, by Cupar, Fife. 

Dundee, Friday Morning. 

My oavn Dearest, 
We parted with my aunt and uncle this morning, — 
they came with us in an open fly to the Ferry, where we 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



157 



separated on the very best terms. I dine to-day with 
Mr. G , (he has lost his wife years ago) — sleep to- 
night in Dundee, and to-morrow, per steamer, to Leith. 

I think I shall leave Leith for London to-morrow 
(Saturday) week. 

You must not come to meet me, the hour of arrival is 
too uncertain. I am very much better, and Tom visibly 
fatter, and both in good spirits. I must shut this up, as 

Mr. G dines early. Love to Fanny. God bless 

you, my own dearest and best. I have got slippers and 
all, and am sending them off to the Ferry. I shall have 
much to tell you when we meet. 

Your own affectionate 

Thomas Hood. 

Edinbro', Wednesday Morning, 27th. 

I have not been quite able to make out, my own dear- 
est, about my letters to you ; it appears to me that one of 
them has missed. 

I w^rote from Dundee, then from the Ferry, and then 
from Dundee again. I have not been able to write from 
here till now, there is so much to see, and so much 
ground to be got over. In one thing I have been un- 
lucky, that it is the Long Vacation, and most of the lions 
are out of town ; Wilson thirty miles off, Napier gone too. 
I left my letter for him, and also for Lord Jeffrey, who 
has just sent me an invitation to dinner to-morrow at his 
seat, three miles hence. Otherwise, I was partly re- 
solved to return by to-day's steamer, instead of Satur- 
day's, which will now be the one. Do not write again, 
therefore, lest I miss it. I went to Chambers's and saw 



158 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



William ; Robert, the one I knew, lives at St. Andrews, 
thirty miles off. Mrs. W. is in bad health, but I drank 
tea with them. He showed us all over his establish- 
ment ; everything, binding, &c., done on the premises ; 
and sent a younger brother, a very nice fellow, to show 
us about. We went up to the Castle, saw the very little 
room where James I. was born, — half the size of my 
room, or even less, — from the window, the house where 
the Burking was perpetrated. He led us to some of the 
back slums, and Tom saw the shop where the rope was 
bought to hang Porteous ; still the same family in the 
same line in the shop. 

Saw the Advocates' Library, Old Parliament House, 
and the anatomical museum of the Surgeons' Hall. I 
am delighted with the city, — it exceeds my expecta- 
tions. You must go with me to the Edinbro' panorama 
when I return. Yesterday we took a cold dinner at 
three, and then drove to Musselburgh, as Blackwood 
said Moir was not likely to come to Edinbro' shortly. 

Such a kind welcome and delightful people — he and 
she ; nice children. Tom and the boys got very sociable. 
About six miles from here — staid three hours with them 
— took very much to each other. We are in comfortable 
quarters. For the sake of society we live in the travel- 
lers' room, and dine at the ordinary. As one of the 
results, on Sunday there dined a very strange man, — 
long beard, matted hair, &c., — but spoke English. 
Thought he was the Hebrew Professor at the College — 
turns out to be Alexander Groat, the proprietor of John 
o' Groat's, with about £700 a-year — a great oddity. 
But he has been very civil to me, given me an order to 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



150 



see the Antiquaries' Museum, &c. I save one of his 
orders for an autograph. We live on the best of Scotcli 
victuals ; haddies for breakfast and supper, whiskey- 
toddy, &c., &c. Tom enjoys it very much. I shall not 
fail to bring home some 'sweeties' for the Elliots and 
others. The weather is beautiful, and I mean now to 
ramble all day, and see all I can ; so you must not ex- 
pect me to write again. I look longingly up at Salis- 
bury Crags, and Arthur's Seat, but " who can tell how 
hard it is to climb ? " I don't think I shall manage it, 
but mean to try, some cool evening. 

I am sleeping better again, but wish I had brought my 
pills. I went to one shop, and the man was, he said, out 
of galbanum. Went to another, who said he had it, but 
gave me something else. However, I am much better 
from the constant air and exercise. I do not find, how- 
ever, that I can settle to write, but am growing ideas I 
suppose. I shall perhaps write something about my trip 
to Edinburgh in my book. I think I could make a 
funny burlesque of Willis' Pencilling style, only the 
characters visited to be imaginary Professors, &c., &c. 
They would enjoy it here. I think of looking to-day at 
the Canongate, Holyrood, and Heriot's Hospital. 

Tom saw a cannon ball, that was fired at the High- 
landers from the Castle, sticking in the wall of a house. 
He has almost filled his sketch book after his own fash- 
ion. I am in good spirits, and hope to have some fun 
before I go ; but I am disappointed about Wilson, and 
think he will be sorry too. Last night we had a party 
of travellers at the hotel, singing Scotch songs, &c., to 
Tom's great amusement. It is much better this public 
room, than moping in a private parlour. 



160 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 

A bookseller in the town, with a famous collection of 
autographs, has sent to ask for mine, so I am going to 
call on him this morning. If I do but keep as I am 
now, I shall get on ; the bracing air does me infinite 
good. I have indeed been surprised to find how far I 
can walk, being on my feet great part of the day. I 
shall reserve a bit of room in case of a letter from you 
when the post comes in, and therefore stop for the pres- 
ent. Give my kind love to Mrs. D . I should have 

liked to have seen her, but for this invite of Lord Jef- 
frey's, but feel now that I ought not to leave. 

Give my love to Tibbie ; and Tom sends his, and 
kisses to you all. 

God bless you, my own dearest and best. 

Your own affectionate 

Thos. Hood. 

extracts from a letter to c. dickens, esq., 
after return to london. 

" Good-bye, hope you are all too well, as usual ! "We 
are just so well, that we might be better, which is very 
well for us. I am aware of all your kindness about 

C . Some day, I don't know when, we will meet, I 

don't know where, and go through, I don't know what, 
on that subject ! In the meantime, Good-bye and God 
bless you all, and hang all the aristocrats, French or 
English, who do not prefer Charles Dick — to Charles 
Dix. 

Mrs. Hood is gone to the Girlery (pronounced gal- 
lery) of the Freemasons' Hall, to hear, see, and eat and 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. Id 

drink all she can. I cannot spare time or money for the 
arts, though I love them and their professors, and par- 
ticularly Stanfield, for coming uninvited the other night. 
I shall believe hereafter in godsends and windfalls. Is 
he really a son of Mrs. Inchbald's ? She, who produced, 
you know, " Nature and Art ! " 

* ^ * 

I called on my return from Scotland, but could not 
catch you. I was delighted with Edinburgh, but unluck- 
ily it Avas vacation time, and the professors, Napier and 
Wilson, were absent. But I had the pleasure of dining 
with Lord Jeffrey (at Craigcrook), who sent his love to 
you ; and spent a very happy evening with Moir, — de- 
lighted with him. Tom Junior accompanied me. I am 
much better for my trip in various ways. 

* * * * 

Towards the close of this year my father had been 
turning over frequently the project of starting a maga- 
zine of his own, but was anxious, and doubtful of such 
a bold step. Some little difference about the " New 
Monthly " at length brought him to the determination of 
risking it. As the result proved, there was little reason 
for hesitation. Unfortunately, as will be seen, even this 
success was not unalloyed by disappointment, — the part- 
ner with whom he embarked on the undertaking, turning 
out rather to be an adventurous speculator, than one of 
" those who have a sum of money to invest in, etc." 

K 



162 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



17, Elm Tree Road, St. John's Wood, 
Tuesday Night, Nov. Sth, 1843. 

Dear Doctor, 

I have been meaning to come down to Stratford with 
my Scotch news for you and Mrs. Elliot, and my 
" sweeties " for Jeanie and May, but I have been in 
quite a whirlpool of business, which has kept me revolv- 
ing round home. First, my two volumes from the " New 
Monthly " * to prepare for the press, with tedious wait- 
ings on Colburn ; and finally, negotiations about to close 
for a new periodical — " Hood's Magazine" — to come 
out on 1st January ! ! ! So, I cannot keep the news from 
you, but write to tell you at once what is likely to be. 

My fortunes seem subject to crises, like certain disor- 
ders. On or about Christmas, I am to dine with you, 

turn out, and get a new house, come to issue with B , 

and start with a periodical under my own name. N. B. 
— There are folks with money to back it. I shall have 
a future share if the thing becomes a property. 

Yesterday I had an offer to write for " Jerrold's Mag- 
azine " on my own terms, the project having got wind. 
This looks well : so do I, people say, for Scotland did me 
good in various ways. I think, if I could live in a mon- 
ument on the Calton Hill, I should keep pretty well. 

There is a sort of rage for periodicals in our Row — 
at least, Jane, who has been engaged for the last three 
years in writing one Childish" article, is thinking of 
starting a Monthly Juvenile. You may safely take it in, 
for it won't take you in beyond two or three numbers. 
It 's very innocent ! I have read one little bit, and can 

* Whimsicalities. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



163 



truly say it wouldn't hurt the babby. I only hope it 
may not prove one of the Fallacies of the Faculties. 
Mine is sure to do ; and Jane feels hen-sure of hers. 
But who would have thought of her keeping " a public ! " 

She sends her love, and means to get to Stratford " as 
soon as she is out ; " whether she means bodily or book- 

ily I cannot tell. I suspect she has a plot to ask M 

H to write for the " rising generation." 

Tom and Fanny have given her some hints how chil- 
dren ought to be brought up ; and, of course, Dunnie, 
Jeanie, and May, have some flotions of their own on the 
same subject. 

God bless you all. These here all unite in love to 
those there, with, 

Dear Doctor, 

Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Jane desires me to say she hopes she may put down 
your name among her prescrihers. I suspect she means 
subscribers, but must refer you to her prospectuses in print. 
Pray tell Mrs. Elliot to tell Thomas not to send away any 
hawkers with books in numbers, — it may be us. Excuse 
boluses.* 

37, Elm Tuee Eoad, Thursday. 

Dear Dickens, 

Your Cornwall trip reminded me of a Komance of Real 
Life, which I have heard, and may afford you a hint. 

A certain London architect was engaged to the daughter 
of a wealthy market-gardener, near town, but during a 

* Blots. 



1G4 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



journey in the West of England was smitten by the ex- 
treme beauty of a young lady whom he saw at a first- 
floor or second-floor window in a country town. She was 
the daughter of a surgeon, and was kept a prisoner almost 
to her chamber by her father. The architect, thinking 
her ill-used, became interested in her behalf ; then des- 
perately in love ; and, forgetting his betrothed in London, 
ran away with the West Country girl and married her. 
It soon appeared that she had not been under restraint 
without reason : she was a very pickle ; spent everything, 
and ran her husband deeply into debt, giving him cause, 
besides, for jealousy. Her husband wishing for children, 
she at last palmed off a baby on him, which was sent to 
nurse till about a year old, when, as the pseudo-father 
was passing or going to the woman's house, he heard her 
beating and rating the little one very harshly. He im- 
mediately went in and reprimanded her ; when, in the 
height of her passion, she let slip that the brat was 
none of his, and subsequently confessed, in explanation, 
that she had been bribed by his wife to lend the child, 
but that "the trick had been played off long enough." 
Other hints induced him, on his return home, to search 
his wife's room for letters ; instead of which, in a drawer, 
he discovered a full suit of widow's weeds (new), and 
naturally inferred that he was to be got rid of by poison. 
He accordingly turned off his wife, to whom, perhaps, he 
made no allowance of money, or probably she became ut- 
terly abandoned, for some years afterwards, a friend, on 
a tour in the West of England, recognised her (chiefly 
by her long and beautiful hair) working in the Cornish 
mines. The incident of finding the mourning I have 
used in the " National Tales ; " but the story is true. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



165 



No answer required. Mrs. Dickens says you are very 
busy, or Bozzy — both will do. I 'm buzzy, in the head, 
to think of so short a month as December will be to 
Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

P. S. Of course your American little dog will pirate 
some English one's bark. Try him some day with the 
first proof-sheet of " Chuzzlewit." 

In the Christmas Number of " Punch " * for this year 
appeared the famous " Song of the Shirt." It was, of 
course, inserted anonymously, but it ran through the land 
like wild-fire. Paper after paper quoted it, and it became 

* " Punch " had now reached his fifth volume, and the commence- 
ment of his third year, having passed some time into the hands of 
Messrs. Bradbury and Evans. In the commencement of the fifth vol- 
ume, on the second page, I think I recognise a cut of my father's — 
" The Lady in the Lobstei\" The picture of a specimen of the Cock- 
and-bull " genus at page 213 of that volume I know to be his, though 
why it was signed B., I am at a loss to say. At page 223, appears a 
poem by my father, entitled a " Drop of Gin," accompanying Kenny 
Meadows' illustration. The only other contribution of my father's to 
" Punch," which I have been able to trace, is a poem entitled " The 
Dream," apropos of the state trials in Ireland, and the Fair Maid of 
Perth, alluding to the " Fighting Smith " in either case. I have strong 
suspicions that the following cuts in Vol. IV. were also by my fath- 
er: viz., "Animal Mag.," " Take Care of the Specimen," "Pots," and 
" A Fancy Portrait of Oliver Twist." In this volume, at page 106, 
"A Police Eeport of a Daring Robber)^," was, I suspect, partly sug- 
gested by my father, who was much interested in the case, and, I be- 
lieve, first discovered the robbery to the " Athenaeum." The piracy 
was a literary one by the noble author of the " Tuit Hunter," a novel, 
which said more for the research and reading of its compiler than for 
his invention or writing. The paper in "Punch "is worth refen-ing 
to for the clever likenesses of the various persons concerned. — T. H. 



1G6 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



the talk of the clay. There was no little speculation as 
to its author, although several, I believe Dickens among 
the number, attributed it at once to its right source. At 
last my father wrote to one of the daily papers and ac- 
knowledged it. He was certainly astonished, and a little 
amused, at its wonderful popularity, although my mother 
had said to him, when she was folding up the packet 
ready for the press : " Now mind, Hood, mark my words, 
this will tell wonderfully ! It is one of the best things 
you ever did ! " This turned out a true prophecy. It 
was translated into French and German ; and even, I be- 
lieve, into Italian. My father used often to laugh and 
wonder how they rendered the pecuhar burthen, 

" Stitch, stitch, stitch ! " 

and also, 

" Seam and gusset and band ! " 

It was printed on cotton pocket-handkerchiefs for sale, 
and has met with the usual fate of all popular poems, 
having been parodied times without number. But what 
delighted, and yet touched, my father most deeply was, that, 
the poor creatures to whose sorrows and sufferings he had 
given such eloquent voice, seemed to adopt its words as 
their own, by singing them about the streets to a rude air 
of their own adaptation. In the same Christmas Number 
of " Punch " appeared another contribution of my father's ; 
but it was overlooked, shadowed by the merits of its great 
companion. When not, however, placed quite so near 
the " Song of the Shirt," and regarded as one more illus- 
tration of the bias of my father's mind towards all that 
was poor and unregarded, it possesses some interest of its 
own. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



THE PAUPEE'S CHRISTMAS CAROL. 

Full of drink and full of meat, 
On our Saviour's natal day, 
(Charity's perennial treat) 
Thus I heard a Pauper say : — 
" Ought I not to dance and sing 
Thus supplied with famous cheer ? 

Heigh ho ! 

I hardly know — 
Christmas comes but once a-year ! 

" After labour's long turmoil, 
Sorry fare and frequent fast. 
Two and fifty weeks of toil, 
Pudding time is come at last ! 
But, are raisins high or low, 
Flour and suet, cheap or dear? 

Heigh ho ! 

I hardly know — 
Christmas comes but once a-year ! 

" Fed upon the coarsest fare, 
Three hundred days and sixty-four, 
But for one on viands rare. 
Just as if I was n't poor ! 
Ought not I to bless my stars, 
Warden, clerk, or overseer ? 

Heigh ho ! 

I hardly know — 
Christmas comes but once a-year ! 

" Treated like a welcome guest. 
One of Nature's social chain, 
Seated, tended on, and press'd — 
But when shall I be press'd again 



168 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Twice to pudding, thrice to beef, 
A dozen times to ale and beer ? 

Heigh ho ! 

I hardly know — 
Christmas comes but once a-year ! 

" Come to-morrow how it will ; 
Diet scant and usage rough, 
Hunger once has had its fill. 
Thirst for once has had enough, 
But shall I ever dine again ? 
Or see another feast appear ? 

Heigh ho ! 

I hardly know — 
Christmas comes but once a-year ! 

" Frozen cares begin to melt, 
Hopes revive and spirits flow — 
Feeling as I have not felt 
Since a dozen months ago — 
Glad enough to sing a song — 
To-morrow shall I volunteer ? 

Heigh ho ! 

I hardly know — 
Christmas comes but once a-year ! 

" Bright and blessed is the time, 
Sorrows end and joys begin. 
While the bells with merry chime 
Ring the Day of Plenty in ! 
But the happy tide to hail 
With a sigh or with a tear. 

Heigh ho ! 

I hardly know — 
Christmas comes but once a-year ! " 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



169 



The following is the prospectus issued, announcing the 
" Magazine." I have considered it to be so characteristic, 
that I have determined to reprint it here, as it will have 
all the charrii of novelty to many readers, while to others 
it will be welcome, as an old friend in a new place. 

Among the contributors advertised were : — Barry 
Cornwall, the Hon. Mrs. Norton, Mrs. S. C. Hall, An- 
drew Winter, Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart., J. T. Hewlett 
(Peter Priggins), R. Monckton Milnes, M. P., S. Lover, 
F. O. Ward, Delta (Dr. Moir), Dr. Shelton Mackenzie, 
Charles Dickens, Kobert Browning, G. P. R. James, 
Miss Lawrence, the Howitts, S. Phillips, F. Hardman. 

HOOD'S MAGAZINE, 



ON THE FIRST OF JANUARY, 1844, Price 25. 6t/., 

HOOD'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE 

AND 

COMIC MISCELLANY. 



Whatever may be thought of Dr. Dickson's theory, that 
the type of Disease in general is periodical, there can be no 
doubt of its applicability to modern Literature, which is 
essentially Periodical, whether the type be long primer, 
brevier, or bourgeois. It appears, moreover, by the rapid 
consumption of Monthlies, compared with the decline of 
the Annuals, that frequent fits of publication are more prev- 
alent and popular than yearly paroxysms. 

Under these circumstances, no apology is necessary for the 

VOL. II. 8 



170 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



present undertaking ; but Custom, which exacts an Overture 
to a new Opera, and a Prologue to a new Play, requires 
a few words of Introduction to a new Monthly Magazine. 

One prominent object, then, of the projected Publication, 
as implied by the sub-title of " Comic Miscellany," will be 
the supply of harmless "Mirth for the Million," and light 
thoughts, to a Public sorely oppressed — if its word be worth 
a rush, or its complaints of an ounce weight — by hard times, 
heavy taxes, and those "eating cares" which attend on 
the securing of food for the day, as well as a provision for the 
future. For the relief of such afflicted classes, the Editor, 
assisted by able Humourists, will dispense a series of papers 
and woodcuts, which it is hoped will cheer the gloom of 
Willow Walk, and the loneliness of Wilderness Bow — 
sweeten the bitterness of Camomile Street, and Wormwood 
Street — smoothe the ruffled temper of Cross Street, and 
enable even Crooked Lane to unbend itself! It is hardly 
necessary to promise that this end will be pursued without 
raising a Maiden Blush, much less a Damask, in the nursery 
grounds of modesty — or trespassing, by wanton personalities, 
on the parks and lawns of Private Life. In a word, it will 
aim at being merry and wise, instead of merry and otherwise. 

For the Sedate there will be papers of a becoming gravity ; 
and the lover of Poetry will be supplied with numbers in each 
Number. 

As to Politics, the Beader of Hood's Magazine will vain- 
ly search in its pages for a Panacea for Agricultural Distress, 
or a Grand Catholicon for Irish Agitation ; he will uselessly 
seek to know whether we ought to depend for our bread on 
foreign farmers, or merely on foreign sea-fowl ; or if the Be- 
peal of the Union would produce low rents, and only three 
Quarter-days. Neither must he hope to learn the proper 
Terminus of Beform, nor even whether a Finality Man means 
Campbell's Last Man or an Undertaker. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



171 



A total abstinence from such stimulating topics and fer- 
mented questions is, indeed, ensured by the established char- 
acter of the Editor, and his notorious aversion to party spirit. 
To borrow his own words, from a letter to the Proprietors — 
" I am no PoUtician, and far from instructed on those topics 
which, to parody a common phrase, no gentleman's newspa- 
per should be without. Thus, for any knowledge of mine, the 
Irish Prosecutions may be for pirating the Irish Melodies ; the 
Pennsylvanians may have ' repudiated ' their wives ; Duff 
Green may be a place, like Goose Green ; Prince Polignac a 
dahlia or a carnation, and the Due de Bordeaux a tulip. The 
Spanish affaii's I could never master, even with a Pronouncing 
Dictionary at my elbow : it would puzzle me to say whether 
Queen Isabella's majority is, or is not, equal to Sir Robert 
Peel's ; or if the shelling the Barcelonese was done with bombs 
and mortars, or the nutcrackers. Prim may be a quaker, and 
the whole Civil War about the Seville Oranges. Nay, even 
on domestic matters nearer home, my profound political igno- 
rance leaves me in doubt on questions, concerning which the 
newsmen's boys and printers' devils have formed very decided 
opinions ; for example, whether the Corn LaAV League ought 
to extend beyond three miles from Mark Lane — or the 
Sliding Scale should regulate the charges at the Glaciarium ; 
what share the Welch Whigs have had in the Welch Riots, 
and how far the Ryots in India were excited by the slaughter 
of the Brahmin Bull. On all such public subjects I am less 
aufait than that Publicist, the Potboy at the public-house, 
with the insolvent sign. The Hog in the Pound." 

Polemics will be excluded with the same rigour | and espe- 
cially the Tractarian Schism. The reader of Hood's Maga- 
zine must not hope, therefore, to be told whether an old 
Protestant Church ought to be plastered with Roman Ce- 
ment ; or, if a design for a new one should be washed in with 
Newman's colours. And most egregiously will he be disap- 



174 



]MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



A Song for the Million, 

Misapprehension, 

Skipping, A Mystery, 

A Discovery in Astronomy, 

Real Random Records, 

A Dream by the Fire, 

*' The Mary," a Seaside Sketch. 

Altogether eleven articles, forming forty-six pages, not 
counting epigrams, and a further nine or ten pages of 
reviews ; in fact more than half the number. At this 
time I find a letter of my mother's to Dr. Elliot : — 

" Hood has desired me to send you his book, which he 
will write in when he comes to Stratford on Monday. 
He is now staying in the Adelphi to be out of the bustle 
of moving; and in spite of fatigue of mind, and great 
excitement, seemed well this evening, when I saw him, 
for everything with regard to the magazine is going on 
to his great satisfaction. I enclose a ' Punch ' paper, 
though you may have seen Hood's ' Song of the Shirt,' 
as it was in the ' Times ; ' I think he has scarcely ever 
written anything that has been so much talked of as this 
song. We hear of it everywhere, and both morning and 
evening papers have quoted it, and spoken of it. To-day 
I received a note from IMrs. S. C. Hall, offering to send 
him occasional sketches for his Magazine, stipulating to 
name her own terms, the payment to be ' the pleasure she 
will feel in assisting, however humbly, in the success of 
his periodical : as a tribute of veneration to the author of 
the Song of the Shirt.' " 

It was during this year that my father was elected an 
Honorary Member of the Graphic Club, which, I believe, 
then held its meetings at the Thatched House. He at- 



MEMOEIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



175 



tended one or two of the soirees. The President of tlie 
Rojal Society, the late Marquis of Northampton, also 
honoured him with a card of invitation to his first conver- 
sazione^ but he was unfortunately too unwell to avail 
himself of it. 

My father having wearied of publishers (and no won- 
der, considering some he met with), had determined to 
brinjf out the Mao-azine at an office of its own at No. 1, 
Adam Street, Adelphi. This plan (which was afterwards 
found to produce much inconvenience, and was therefore 
abandoned), caused some opposition on the part of the 
trade, and rendered my father very anxious at the time. 

The following letter was addressed to the late Samuel 
Phillips, with whom my father became intimate through 
Mr. Phillips' having been occasionally a contributor to 
the " New Monthly Magazine." He had just lost his 
wife. The letter accompanied the first number of the 
Magazine. 

1, Adam Street, Adelphi, Jan. ls<, 1844. 
My dear Sir, 

I cannot tell you how much your letter shocked and 
grieved me ; for being strictly a domestic man myself, 
finding my comfort for many evils in the bosom of my 
family, I can the better imagine and sympathise with such 
a bereavement. 

The only comfort I can offer to you, is the one which 
I have found most consolatory under the loss of dear 
relatives, the belief that we do not love in vain ; that so 
surely as we must live, having lived, so must we love, 
having loved ; and that after some term, longer or shortei". 



176 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



but a mere vibration of the great pendulum of eternity, 
we shall all be re-united. In the meantime let us endure 
as bravely as we can for the sake of others. 

You may guess by the number, which comes with this, 
how I have been occupied, writing very hard with the 
prospect of jfighting very hard, for there is every appear- 
ance of a trade combination against us. But the first 
number seems very well liked. The plate * I may com- 
mend as very beautiful, knowing something practically of 
engraving. I need not say, when you feel well enough 
to resume your pen, how happy I shall be to receive a 
paper from you. We have agreed not to have any serials 
(as, not being booksellers, we can do nothing afterwards 
with the copyright), but each article independent of an- 
other. 

I would not trouble you with this, but that, without 
any selfish view, I would earnestly recommend you, from 
my own experience, to resume your pen. I have had 
my share of the troubles of this world, as well as of the 
calamities of authors, and have found it to be a very- 
great blessing to be able to carry my thoughts into the 
ideal, from the too strong real. 

I am writing hastily, which you will, I know, excuse ; 
for you must be well aware of what a Christmas month 
it has been for editors, and the 31st on a Sunday! And 
I have another short one before me with only twenty- 

* The plate mentioned in this letter was an illustration of the 
" Haunted House," engraved from a picture, "which, I need only say, 
was by Creswick, to convince the reader of its beauty. I do not know 
what became of the original. It was never in my father's possession, 
much as he would have valued it. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



177 



eight days ; I hope I shall survive it. Thank God my 
blood keeps within bounds. 

Mrs. Hood desires her kind regards, and believe me 
to be, my dear sir, 

Yours very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

My new home is at * Devonshire Lodge, New Finch- 
ley Road, St. John's Wood, where I shall be most happy 
to see you ; it is just beyond the " Eyre Arms," three 
doors short of the turnpike. The Magazine Office is 
1, Adam Street, Adelphi, and I am sometimes there of a 
morning. I just see I have made a mistake about twenty- 
eight days, I was thinking of the No. for February. 

The following extract from a letter from my mother to 
Dr. Elliot describes the troubles that further beset the 
unlucky Magazine, in spite of the hard labouring of its 
editor, and its popularity with the reading public. 

" You will be sorry to hear that Mr. , the propri- 
etor of ' Hood's Magazine,' has engaged in the specula- 
tion without sufficient means to carry it on — having been 
tempted by the goodness of the speculation, and hoping 
to scramble through it. Hood is obliged of course to get 
rid of him, and find some one else. The first alarm we 
had, was his quarrelling with Bradbury and Evans, the 
printers, about payment. This was on the 27th of Jan- 
uary ; he then got another man in February, who could 

* My father gave the house this name in remembrance of the ex- 
ceeding generosity and kindness, which, as has been mentioned, he 
received from the late Duke of Devonshire. — T. H. 

8* L 



178 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



not manage it; and on the 12th he engaged another, who 
had new type to buy, and could not begin to print until 
the 16th — this in the shortest month of the year. The 
worry laid Hood up ; and all these things of course pre- 
vented the Magazine coming out in time. It is doing 

well. B told Mr. PhiUips he never before heard of 

such a sale as 1500 for a first number; and, having been 
well advertised, it does not now want much to carry it 
on ; so there will be no diflBculty in getting another part- 
ner. Hood will be obliged next week to compel Mr. 

to pay him — he owes him nearly £100. Of course it 
has been a sad blow to us, and crippled us for the present. 
This man's behaviour has astonished us, having started 
apparently with such plenty. His house is his own, and 
brings him in, let off in chambers, £ 400 a-year ! Hood 
dines to-day at Dr. Bowring's, in Queen's Square. He 
knew him well years ago in the ' London Magazine ; ' 
and he wrote a few days ago to ask Hood to meet Bright 
and Cobden on business, /think to engage him to write 
songs for the League. I augur good from it. This 
comes of the ' Song of the Shirt,' of which we hear 
something continually. 

The next and three of the subsequent letters were 
written to three of Dr. Elliot's children,* especial fa- 
vourites of my father's. 

* They have been mentioned before in the notes, as pets of his ; 
and the letters will prove how admirably my father could adapt his 
style to children. It is much to be regretted that a plan he entertained 
for writing a set of children's books was not carried out. We have 
however the MSS. of some short pieces written by hira for the " Juve- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



179 



17, Elm Tree Road, St. Jotin's Wood, 
Monday, April, 1844. 

My dear May, 

I promised you a letter, and here it is. I was sure to 
remember it ; for you are as hard to forget, as you are 
soft to roll down a hill with. What fun it was ! only so 
prickly, I thought I had a porcupine in one pocket, and 
a hedgehog in the other. The next time, before we kiss 
the earth we will have its face well shaved. Did you 
ever go to Greenwich Fair ? I should like to go there 
with you, for I get no rolling at St. John's Wood. Tom 
and Fanny only like roll and butter, and as for Mrs. 
Hood, she is for rolling in money. 

Tell Dunnie that Tom has set his trap in the balcony 
and has caught a cold, and tell Jeanie that Fanny has set 
her foot in the garden, but it has not come up yet. Oh, 
how I wish it was the season when " March winds and 
April showers bring forth May flowers ! " for then of 
course you would give me another pretty little nosegay. 
Besides it is frosty and ^og^y weather, which I do not 
like. The other night, when I came from Stratford, the 
cold shrivelled me up so, that when I got home, I thought 
I was my own child ! 

However, I hope we shall all have a merry Christmas ; 
I mean to come in my most ticklesome waistcoat, and to 
laugh till I grow fat, or at least streaky. Fanny is to be 

nile Magazine" (see letter to Dr. Elliot, Nov. 8, 1843), which my 
mother meditated, and of which we have a good deal of the matter by 
us. The allusion at the commencement of this letter is to an acci- 
dental tumble and roll, which befel my father and little May, while at 
a pic-nic in the Forest. They rolled down a bank, and lauded in a 
furze bush at the bottom. — T. H. 



180 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



allowed a glass of wine, Tom's mouth is to have a hole 
holiday, and Mrs. Hood is to sit up to supper ! There 
will be doings ! And then such good things to eat ; but, 
pray, pray, pray, mind they don't boil the baby by mis- 
take for a plump pudding, instead of a plum one. 

Give my love to everybody, from yourself down to 
Willy,* with which and a kiss, I remain, up hill and 
down dale, 

Your affectionate lover, 

Thomas Hood. 

During my father's editorship of the " New Monthly 
Magazine," he became personally acquainted with one of 
his contributors, a young naval surgeon,t Mr. Robert 
Douglas. He wrote several papers under the signature 

* " Willy," at that writing, being very tall for his age, and May his 
youngest sister, not very tall for her age. — T. H. 

t Mr. Douglas was a very kind friend to me, and presented me with 
a knife given him by a Spaniard, on some of the wild Sierras, for bleed- 
ing his wife, who was dangerously ill. He also gave me a small Bra- 
zilian monkey, which latter gift was the cause of some merriment. 
My mother hearing that he was going to bring me " a monkey," had 
visions of quadrumana very different from the reality (a pretty squir- 
rel-like creature), and wrote to entreat Douglas to spare her the in- 
fliction of such a pet : having occasion at the same time to -wTite to 
Mr. Evans about " Punch," she put the letters into the wrong envel- 
opes. The result was, that Mr. Evans was accused of meditating a 
monkey he had never heard of, while Douglas was puzzled with direc- 
tions about " Punch," with which he was far less acquainted, thau 
" three-water grog." Of course my father did not spare this. I re- 
member that Mr. Douglas is the only person who ever persuaded my 
father to smoke. He recommended it as an assistance to digestion, 
but I do not think my father took to the prescription to any extent — 
not bevond the " exhibition " of two or three whiflfs. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



181 



of a "Medical Student," which evinced much talent, 
although of a rather startling and peculiar kind. When 
my father started his own Magazine, Mr. Douglas with 
one or two others, including the late Mr. W. J. Brod- 
erip, F. R. S., author of " Zoological Recreations," and 
]Mr. Frederic Hardman, author of the " Student of Sal- 
amanca," followed him and wrote for the new periodical. 
My father frequently corresponded with Mr. Douglas, 
and suggested alterations or curtailments of his MSS., 
and in his last letter to him in 1844, spoke of his tem- 
porary rallying from illness, but his knowledge, also, that 
it was but a passing amelioration. Indeed he said it was 
probable that, when Mr. Douglas returned from his next 
trip, he might not see him again ; to this letter I find 
among other matters the following reply : — 

" I am glad to hear that you are so well, and would 
recommend you, professionally speaking, not to indulge in 
those pleasing anticipations of seeing the other world, 
but to be content with the one you are in, for a day or 
two ! " 

My father's forebodings were however curiously real- 
ized, but not in the manner he prophesied. His next 
news of his friend was the announcement, by a stranger, 
that Mr. Douglas had been suddenly taken with an 
infectious fever, and being comparatively a stranger at 
Devonport (where he had been awaiting his appointment 
to a new ship), he had been taken to the hospital, where 
he died ; and was buried before his family, residing in 
Scotland, could reach him. 

In the month of May my father was again taken ill, 
partly from the hard work, occasioned by a new periodi- 



182 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



cal, and partly from anxiety owing to some doubts as to 
the solvency of his co-proprietor of the speculation. 
How little could those, who carelessly passed an idle 
hour perhaps over this amusing periodical, imagine what 
the toil was that created their passing amusement ; a 
toil now fearfully aggravated by frequently recurring 
attacks of a mortal disease. 

On the 22nd of May I find my mother writing to 
Dr. Elliot. 

" Hood could not give up the hope of getting the mag- 
azine out till last night, for it is quite a sin to let what 
might be so good, fall to the ground. Could he have got 
a publisher, it might have been done, but now it 's too 
late. 

" Last night he fretted dreadfully, and, at one this 
morning, was seized so suddenly with short breathing, 
and fullness of the chest, I thought he could not live. 

" He lies very quiet reading in his bed, not speaking, 
but I fear he is very ill. I do not write this to ask you to 
come, my dear Dr. Elliot, for what can be done to relieve 
his poor mind, which feels cruelly this failure of a work, 
he has laboured at night and day, and which would have 
been a good property if carried on. I dare not write 
more or I shall be unfit to do my best for him." 

In the midst however of this sickness and distress, my 
father's friends rallied round him. Mr. F. O. Ward 
installed himself as unpaid sub-editor, and corrected 
proofs, and arranged matter for the press. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



183 



May 23d, 1844. 

Dear Doctor, 
Put on six leeches yesterday, on the pit of the stom- 
ach (my stomach ought to be all pit by this time) : the 
bites bled a good deal. I slept at night but was very 
exhausted. 

* * * * 

Great noises in the chest when I swallow, as of re- 
newed action. Heart quiet, and pulse stronger; beat 
equal and not too fast. I think it is a turn for the bet- 
ter ; but I am dreadfully reduced. I find brown bread 
and honey a good diet. 

Yours ever affectionately, 

T. Hood. 

P. T. 0. A pleasant party to you. To-day is my 
birthday — forty-five — but I can't tell you how old I 
feel; enough to be your grandfather at least, and give 
you advice ! viz., don't over-polka yourself. 

EPIGRAM ON Dr. ROBERT ELLIOT, 

OF CAMBERWELL. 

Wliatever Doctor Robert's skill be worth, 
One hope within me still is stout and hearty, 

He would not kill me till the 24th, 
For fear of my appearing at his party ! 

Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Road, St. John's Wood, 

Ilonday. 

My dear Dickens, 
I cannot say how delighted I was to learn from my 



184 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



friend Ward that you had promised me a little " bit o' 
^vritin " to help me to launch afloat again. It has been 
a cruel business, and I really wanted help in it, or I 
should not have announced it, knowing how much you 
have to do. I am certainly a lucky man and an un- 
lucky man too — for S is far better than the prom- 
ise of . 

By the bye, I have heard one or two persons doubt 
the reality of a Pecksniff — or the possibility — but I 

have lately met two samples of the breed. is most 

decidedly a Pecksniffian ; as Ward says, he is so " con- 
foundedly virtiiousr After telling two parties he was 
going to fail, his brother corroborating, — after excusing 
himself from giving me up the stock for debt to me, as 
lie had promised, because it would be preferring one 
creditor, — he turned round, and said, he was not only 
not going to fail, but had never said so ! On the back of 
this he now says if all will not take a composition, there 
will be a friendly fiat ! He cried to Ward, and begged 
him to get him a situation, of only a guinea a-week, as 
he was a ruined man ; and then served a writ — not a 
summons — on Ward for eighteen copies we had had of 
the back stock ! less than £ 2. And then when Ward went 

to settle this, , said Pecksniffishly, " Now, Mr. Ward, 

let me ask, in the whole of our intercourse in this busi- 
ness, have I behaved in any way inconsistent with what 
you think is right and proper ? " " Why," said Ward, 
" I really cannot think how you could reconcile to your 
conscience to say and do " so and so. " Conscience ! " 

said , " sir, I have lived too long in the world to be 

a slave to my conscience^ AVas not this capital ? Just 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



185 



let me know by a single line per bearer, how much space 
I shall leave for you, as I will leave the first sheet open, 
not to hurry you. 

I hear that you are going to learn on the spot to eat 
Italian macaroni. For God's sake take care of the mal- 
aria ! I am suffering still from a touch of the Dutch 
pest, ten years ago. Last week I dined at Tom Land- 
seer's, and was taken so ill on the road home, walking, I 
was obliged to get a policeman to assist me ; and after 
all I suspect he thought it a strange case of drunkenness 
— the gent having all the use of his faculties, but unable 
to walk without support. 

Mrs. Hood unites in kind regards to yourself and Mrs. 
Dickens. Our new house is in a road that is a nice 
drive when you take an airing. Verb. sap. 

Yours very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

How is Forster? I heard lately that he was ill 
again. 

The literary help, mentioned in the last, was promptly 
afforded by Mr. Dickens, in spite of his own multifarious 
engagements. It consisted of a " Threatening Letter to 
Thomas Hood, from an elderly gentleman, by the favour 
of Charles Dickens, Esq." About this time Tom Thumb 
was the rage in London, and at Windsor, and the letter 
was a clever satire on the folly of this childish admira- 
tion of 



" The abridgment of all that is pleasant in man.'* 



186 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Dkvonsiiire Lodge, New Fimchley Road, Tuesday. 
My dear Dickens, 

I must write at last in lieu of coming as I have hoped, 
leaning on a hanker for day after day, but a severe course 
of influenza with a strong cough has so shaken the little 
physical power I possessed that I can hardly stand, and 
certainly cannot go, without a go-cart. I have indeed 
had a foretaste of dying, in a terrible shortness of breath 
at night. I never felt touched in the wind before, but 
know now that I have lungs. What a comfort ! Apro- 
pos of which let me again cry to you to beware of Italian 
malaria. My ten-year-old marsh malady has throughout 
aggravated the other by ague-ish chills and fitful fever. 
And what's more it is not catching, so that you cannot 
give it to anyone that you don't like. But for this influ- 
enza, I should long ago have had an outfluenza to grasp 
3'our hand, and thank you for your great kindness, which 
I feel the more, from knowing, by experience, how many 
obstacles there were in the way of it. Thanks to that, 
and similar backing, I shall now, I think, turn the cor- 
ner ; and in the meantime the pinch has not only shown 
me in a very gratifying way, the sincerity of some longer 
friends, but has procured me a succession of new ones. 
For example Ward, who has slaved for the Magazine 
like an enthusiastic sub-editor. 

Your paper is capitah I had been revolted myself by 
the royal running after the American mite, and the small- 
mindedness of being so fond of an unmagnified man or 
child. I cannot understand the wish to see a dwarf twice. 
At Coblenz * I saw two natural curiosities, for they were 

* See tail-piece to tliis chapter. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



187 



brothers, one about forty years old, not at all deformed ex- 
cept that his face was a little large in proportion : he was 
a clerk in the War Office, and frequented an ordinary at 
the hotel near me, where he had a miniature set of plates, 
knife and fork, &c. His brother was a flower and minia- 
ture painter at Diisseldorf, and looked like a child, for he 
had a straw hat, little frock coat, and his hair in long 
curls down his back. But he was manly enough to be 
found locked up in a room with some one to fight a duel 
about a lady. I think neither of them were taller than 
* my Tom then three years old. 

The two Queens ought henceforward always to look 
through the wrong ends of their telescopes and opera 
glasses. I long to see you and have a gossip on things 
in general but cannot say when I shall get abroad. 
Give our kind regards to Mrs. Dickens. 
I am. 

My dear Dickens, 

Your ever very truly, 

TH03IAS Hood. 

The following announcement appeared at the end of 
the number for June. 

THE ECHO. 

It is with feelings of the deepest concern that we 
acquaint our subscribers, and the public, with the circum- 
stances that have, during the past month, deprived this 
Magazine of the invaluable services of its Editor. A 
severe attack of the disorder, to which he has long been 
subject, haemorrhage from the lungs, occasioned by enlarge- 



188 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



ment of the heart (itself brought on bj the wearing ex- 
citement of ceaseless and excessive literary toil) has in 
the course of a few weeks, reduced Mr. Hood to a state 
of such extreme debility, and exhaustion, that, during 
several days, fears were entertained for his life. Never- 
theless, up to Thursday the 23rd he did not relinquish 
the hope that he should have strength to continue, in the 
present number, the novel which he began in the last ; 
and he even directed his intentions to be announced in 
the advertisements, which were sent out on that day to 
the Saturday journals. On the same evening sitting up 
in bed, he tried to invent, and sketch a few comic de- 
signs ; but even this effort exceeded his strength, and 
was followed by the wandering delirium of utter nervous 
exhaustion. Next morning his medical attendants de- 
clared that the repetition of any such attempt, at that 
critical period of his illness, might cost him his life. "We 
trust that this brief explanation will obtain for Mr. Hood 
the sympathy and kind indulgence of our subscribers ; 
and especially that it will satisfy them of the perfect 
honajides, with which the promise of a contribution from 
his pen was advertised in the Saturday papers. Mr. 
Hood, we are happy to say, is now gradually recovering 
strength; and there is every reason to expect that he 
will be able, in the next number, to give the promised 
new chapters, and illustrations, at present of necessity 
deferred. 

Conscious of his enfeebled powers and uncertain hand, 
Mr. Hood threw aside the above-mentioned sketches, as 
too insignificant for publication. But it has been thought, 
that the contrast of their sprightly humour with the pain 



MEMORIALS OF THOMxVS HOOD. 



189 



and prostration in the midst of which they Avere produced, 
might give them a pecuhar interest, independent of any 
merit of their own : suggesting, perhaps, the reflection 
(never too trite to be repeated, so long as it is too true to 
be denied), by what harassing efforts the food of careless 
mirth is furnished, and how often the pleasure of the 
Many costs bitter endurance to the One. 

Disobeying, therefore, for once, the direction of our 
chief, we have preserved two of these " sick-room fancies," 
which wdll enable us to convey, in his own quaint picture- 
language, to the readers of " Hood's Mag.," " The 
Editor's Apologies." * 

The next three letters were wa-itten to the three little 
Elliots — namely, Dunnie (familiarly called * Jack,' and 
'Old Fellow'), Jeanie, and May, the heroine of the roll 
down the Wanstead slopes. They were then spending a 
few weeks by the sea at Sandgate. 

Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Road, St. John's Wood, 
July 1st (1st of Hebrew falsity). 

My dear Dunnie, 
I have heard of your doings at Sandgate, and that you 
were so happy at getting to the sea, that you were obliged 
to be flogged a little to moderate it, and keep some for 
next day. I am very fond of the sea, too, though I have 
been twice nearly drowned by it ; once in a storm in a 
ship, and once under a boat's bottom when I was bathing. 
Of course you have bathed, but have you learned to swim 
yet? It is rather easy in salt water, and diving is still 

* " Hood's Mag.," was a magpie with a hawk's hood on; " The Ed- 
itor's Apologies," a collection of bottles, leeches, and blisters. — T. H. 



190 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



easier, even, than at the sink. I only swun in fancy, and 
strike out new ideas ! 

Is not the tide curious ? Though I cannot say much 
for its tidiness ; it makes such a slop and litter on the 
beach. It comes and goes as regularly as the boys of a 
proprietary school, but has no holidays. And what a 
rattle the waves make with the stones when they are 
rough ; you will find some rolled into decent marbles and 
bounces : and sometimes you may hear the sound of a 
heavy sea, at a distance, like a giant snoring. Some 
people say that every ninth wave is bigger than the rest. 
I have often counted, but never found it come true, ex- 
cept with tailors, of whom every ninth is a man. But 
in rough weather there are giant waves, bigger than the 
rest, that come in trios, from which I suppose, Britannia 
rules the waves by the rule of three. When I was a 
boy, I loved to play with the sea, in spite of its sometimes 
getting rather rough. I and my brother chucked hundreds 
of stones into it, as you do ; but we came away before 
we could fill it up. In those days we were at war with 
France. Unluckily, it's peace now, or with so many 
stones you might have good fun for days in pelting the 
enemy's coast. Once I almost thought I nearly hit 
Boney ! Then there was looking for an island like Rob- 
inson Crusoe ! Have you ever found one yet, surrounded 
by water ? I remember once staying on the beach, when 
the tide was flowing, till I was a peninsula, and only by 
running turned myself into a continent. 

Then there 's fishing at the seaside. I used to catch 
flat fish with a very long string line. It was like swim- 
ming a kite ! But perhaps there are no flat fish at 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



191 



Sandgate — except your shoe-soles. The best plan, if 
you want flat fish where there are none, is to bring cod- 
lings and hammer them into dabs. Once I caught a 
plaice, and, seeing it all over red spots, thought I had 
caught the measles. 

Do you ever long, when you are looking at the sea, for 
a voyage ? If I were off Sandgate with my yacht (only 
she is not yet built), I would give you a cruise in her. 
In the meantime you can practise sailing any little boat 
you can get. But mind that it does not flounder or get 
squaraped, as some people say, instead of 'founder' and 
' swamp.' I have been swamped myself by malaria, and 
almost foundered, which reminds me that Tom junior, 
being very ingenious, has made a cork model of a diving- 
bell that won't sink ! 

By this time, I suppose, you are become, instead of a 
laud-boy, a regular sea-urchin ; and so amphibious, that 
you can walk on the land as well as on the water — or 
better. And don't you mean, when you grow up, to go 
to sea ? Should you not like to be a little midshipman ? 
or half a quarter-master, with a cocked hat, and a dirk, 
that will be a sword by the time you are a man ? If you 
do resolve to be a post-captain, let me know ; and I will 
endeavour through my interest with the Commissioners 
of Pavements, to get you a post to jump over of the 
proper height. Tom is just rigging a boat, so I suppose 
that he inclines to be an Admiral of the Marines. But 
before you decide, remember the port holes, and that 
there are great guns in those battle-doors, that will blow 
you into shuttlecocks, which is a worse game than whoop 
and hide — as to a ^ood hidinoj ! 



192 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



And so farewell, young " Old Fellow," and take care 
of yourself so near the sea, for in some places, they say, 
it has not even a bottom to go to if you fall in. And 
remember when you are bathing, if you meet with a 
shark, the best way is to bite off his legs, if you can, 
before he walks off with yours. And so, hoping you 
will be better soon, for somebody told me you had the 
shingles, 

I am, my dear Dunnie, 

Your affectionate friend, 

Thomas Hood. 

P. S. — I have heard that at Sandgate there used to 
be lobsters ; but some ignorant fairy turned them all by a 
spell into holsters. 

Devonshire Lodge, New Fixchley Road, July Ut, 1844. 
My Dear Jeanik, 

So you are at Sandgate ! Of course, wishing for your 

old play-fellow, M H , (he can play, — it 's w^ork 

to me) to help you to make little puddles in the Sand, 
and swing on the Gate. But perhaps there are no sand 
and gate at Sandgate, which, in that case, nominally tells 
us a fib. But there must be little crabs somewhere, 
which you can catch, if you are nimble enough, so like 
spiders, I wonder they do not make webs. The large 
crabs are scarcer. 

If you do catch a big one with strong claws — and like 
experiments — you can shut him up in a cupboard witli a 
loaf of sugar, and you can see whether he will break it 
up with his nippers. Besides crabs, I used to find jelly- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



193 



fish on the beach, made, it seemed to me, of sea-calves' 
feet, and no sherry. 

The mermaids eat them, I suppose, at their wet water- 
parties, or salt soirees. There were star-fish also, but 
they did not shine till they were stinking, and so made 
very uncelestial constellations. 

I suppose you never gather any sea-flowers, but only 
sea-weeds. The truth is Mr. David Jones never rises 
from his bed, and so has a garden full of weeds, like Dr. 
Watts's Sluggard. 

Oysters are as bad, for they never leave their beds 
willingly, though they get such oceans of ' cold pig.' At 
some sea-sides you may pick up shells, but I have been 
told that at Sandgate there are no shells, except those 
with passive green peas and lively maggots. 

I have heard that you bathe in the sea, which is very 
refreshing, but it requires care ; for if you stay under 
water too long, you may come up a mermaid, who is only 
half a lady, with a fish's tail, — which she can boil if she 
likes. You had better try this with your Doll, whether 
it turns her into half a " doll-fin." 

I hope you like the sea. I always did when I was a 
child, which was about two years ago. Sometimes it 
makes such a fizzing and foaming, I wonder some of 
our London cheats do not bottle it up, and sell it for gin- 
ger-pop. 

When the sea is too rough, if you pour the sweet-oil 
out of the cruet all over it, and wait for a calm, it will be 
quite smooth, — much smoother than a dressed salad. 

Some time ago exactly, there used to be, about the part 
of the coast where you are, large white birds with black- 

VOL. II. 9 M 



104 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



tipped wings, that went flying and screaming over the 
sea, and now and then plunged down into the water after 
a fish. Perhaps they catch their sprats now with nets 
or hooks and lines. Do you ever see such birds ? We 
used to call them " gulls," — but they did n't mind it ! Do 
you ever see any boats or vessels ? And don't you wish, 
when you see a ship, that Somebody -svas a sea-captain 
instead of a Doctor, that he might bring you home a pet 
lion, or calf elephant, ever so many parrots, or a monkey, 
from foreign parts ? I knew a little girl who was prom- 
ised a baby whale by her sailor brother, and who hluh- 
hered because he did not bring it. I suppose there are 
no whales at Sandgate, but you might find a seal about 
the beach ; or, at least, a stone for one. The sea stones 
are not pretty when they are dry, but look beautiful 
when they are wet, — and we can always keep sucking 
them ! 

If you can find one, pray pick me up a pebble for a 
seal. I prefer the red sort, like Mrs. Jenkins's brooch 
and ear-rings, wiiich she calls " red chamelion." Well, 
how happy you must be ! Childhood is such a joyous, 
merry time ; and I often wish I w^as two or three chil- 
dren ! But I suppose I can't be ; or else I would be 
Jeanie, and May, and Dunnie Elliot. And would n't I 
pull off my three pairs of shoes and socks, and go pad- 
dling in the sea up to my six knees ! And oh ! how I 
could climb up the downs, and roll down the ups on my 
three backs and stomachs ! Capital sport, only it wears 
out the woollens. Which reminds me of the sheep on 
the downs, and little May, so innocent, I daresay, she 
often crawls about on all fours, and tries to eat grass like 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



195 



a lamb. Grass is n't nasty ; at least, not very, if you 
take care, while you arc browsing, not to chump up the 
dandelions. They are large, yellow star-flowers, and 
often grow about dairy farms, but give very bad milk ! 

When I can buy a telescope powerful enough, I shall 
have a peep at you. I am told with a good glass, you 
can see the sea at such a distance that the sea cannot see 
you ! Now I must say good bye, for my paper gets 
short, but not stouter. Pray give ray love to your Ma, 

and my compliments to Mrs. H and no mistake, and 

remember me, my dear Jeanie, as your 

Affectionate friend, 

Thos. Hood. 

The other Tom Hood sends his love to everybody and 
every thing. 

P. S. Don't forget my pebble : — and a good naughty- 
lass would be esteemed a curiosity. 

Devoxshike Lodge, New Finchley Road, July 1st, 1844. 
My dear May, 
How do you do, and how do you like the sea? not 
much perhaps, it 's " so big." But should n't you like a 
nice little ocean, that you could put in a pan ? Yet the 
sea, although it looks rather ugly at first, is very useful, 
and, if I were near it this dry 'summer, I would carry it 
all home, to water the garden with at Stratford, and 
it would be sure to drown all the blights, J/ay-flies 
and all ! 

I remember that, when I saw the sea, it used some- 
times to be very fussy, and fidgetty, and did not alwa}'s 



196 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



wash itself quite clean; but it was very fond of fun. 
Have the waves ever run after you yet, and turned your 
little two shoes into pumps, full of water ? 

If you want a joke you might push Dunnie into the 
sea, and then fish for him as they do for a Jack. But don't 
go in yourself, and don't let the baby go in and swim 
away, although he is the shrimp of the family. Did you 
ever taste the sea-water ? The fishes are so fond of it 
they keep drinking it all the day long. Dip your little 
finger in, and then suck it to see how it tastes. A glass 
of it warm, with sugar and a grate of nutmeg, would 
quite astonish you ! The water of the sea is so saline, I 
wonder nobody catches salt fish in it. I should think a 
good way would be to go out in a butter-boat, with a little 
melted for sauce. Have you been bathed yet in the sea, 
and were you afraid ? I was, the first time, and the time 
before that ; and dear me, how I kicked, and screamed — 
or, at least, meant to scream, but the sea, ships and all, 
began to run into my mouth, and so I shut it up. I think 
I see you being dipped in the sea, screwing your eyes up, 
and putting your nose, like a button, into your mouth, 
like a button-hole, for fear of getting another smell and 
taste ! By the bye, did you ever dive your head under 
water with your legs up in the air like a duck, and try 
whether you could cry " Quack ? " Some animals carl ! 
I would try, but there is no sea here, and so I am forced 
to dip into books. I wish there were such nice green 
hills here as there are at Sandgate. They must be very 
nice to roll down, especially if there are no furze bushes 
to prickle one, at the bottom ! Do you remember how 
the thorns stuck in us like a penn'orth of mixed pins at 



MEMOKIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



197 



Wanstead ? I have been very ill, and am so thin now, I 
could stick myself into a prickle. My legs, in particular, 
are so wasted away, that somebody says my pins are only 
needles ; and I am so weak, I dare say you could push 
me down on the floor and right thro' the carpet, unless it 
was a strong pattern. I am sure, if I were at Sandgate, 
you could carry me to the post office and fetch my letters. 
Talking of carrying, I suppose you have donkeys at 
Sandgate, and ride about on them. Mind and always 
call them " donkeys," for if you call them asses, it might 
reach such long ears ! I knew a donkey once that kicked 
a man for calling him Jack instead of John. 

There are no flowers, I suppose, on the beach, or I 
w^ould ask you to bring me a bouquet, as you used at 
Stratford. But there are little crabs ! If you would 
catch one for me, and teach it to dance the Polka, it 
would make me quite happy ; for I have not had any 
toys or playthings for a long time. Did you ever try, 
like a little crab, to run two ways at once ? See if you 
can do it, for it is good fun ; never mind tumbling over 
yourself a little at first. It would be a good plan to hire a 
little crab, for an hour a day, to teach baby to crawl, if he 
can't walk, and, if I was his mamma, I would too ! Bless 
him ! But I must not write on him any more — he is so 
soft, and I have nothing but steel pens. 

And now good bye, Fanny has made my tea, and I 
must drink it before it gets too hot, as we all were last 
Sunday week. They say the glass was 88 in the shade, 
which is a great age ! The last fair breeze I blew dozens 
of kisses for you, but the wind changed, and I am afraid 
took them all to Miss H or somebody that it should n't. 



198 



MEMOI^IALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Give my love to everybody and my compliments to all the 
rest, and remember, I am, my dear May, 

Your loving friend, 

Thomas Hood. 

P. S. Don't forget my little crab to dance the Polka, 
and pray write to me as soon as you can't, if it 's only a 
line.* 

In July, 1844, after his serious illness, my father went, 
for a change of air, and to recruit his exhausted energies, 
to stay for some weeks at Blackheath. He took up his 
abode for the time at Yanbrugh House, " that goose-pie of 
a castle, built on the model of the Bastille, which Van- 
brugh built for himself on the Park side of the Heath." 
Here he was able to get fresh air, and bracing air too, 
while he enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Greenwich 
Park ; and was, moreover, in easy communication with 
London. 

* It is very curious to note, in the foregoing letters, a peculiar and 
touching sadness underlying the fun, which runs riot through them 
all. As an instance of this, after joking with Dunnie about swimming, 
my father adds — "I only swim in fancy and strike out new ideas." 
It seems like an articulate sigh. Similar to this, and very significant 
to those who remember his love for the rolling waters, is his regret 
that " there is no sea here, so I am forced to dip into books ! " There 
is a melancholy humour, too, in his wish to be two or three children, 
and the description of his ability to stick himself into a prickle, instead 
of its being vice versa. I need hardly call attention to the graphic and 
laughable touches — such as the comparison of " catching flat fish " 
to " swimming a kite" — the recipe for calming the sea with salad oil 
— or the grave assertion that the " large white birds, with black- 
tipped wings," did n't mind being called " gulls." — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



199 



Vanbrugh House, July 20(h, 1844. 

Dear Doctor, 
I am so curious to see with what sort of face you can 
forbid me such cooling draughts as iced champagne and 
cold punch, at such a notorious feasting-place as Black- 
wall (after a glimpse, too, of Greenwich Hospital-ity), that 
I shall be sure to meet you at 3 o'clock. I was going to 
say amongst the pensioners, but as yet I only know the 
pen part of it. Love to all. 

Yours ever and ever, 

Thomas Hood. 

I have had a little more spinning material in me the 
last few days, and have nearly done three chapters ; but 
you need n't tell Sir Robert.* 

After a stay of two months at Blackheath, which cer- 
tainly restored his health wonderfully for a time, my father 
returned to London. When there, he found that his 
friend Phillips, who had been selected as the tutor of the 

son of the Marquis of , and was staying at Brighton, 

had been run away with and thrown, while out riding. 
Mr. Phillips was a fellow-sufferer with my father, and 
subject to haemorrhage of the lungs. He had written 
some German stories for the Magazine, one of them about 
a water spirit, or Neck, to which allusion is made, as well 
as his poem, " The Husk and the Grain." 

* It appears from this letter that my father had had some int*- 
mation at this time of the possibility of his receiving a pension. 
— T. H. 



200 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Devonshire Lodge, New Fixchley Road. 
My dear Phillips, 
What the devil do you mean ? Have you no concern 
for the nerves of editors — the nourishment of magazine 
readers ? It may be horse-play to you, but death to us. 
What business had you in the saddle at all? Have I 
not said in print, that sedentary persons have never a 
good seat ? Is it not notorious that authors, from Cole- 
ridge down to Poole, are bad riders ? And you must go 
proving it again by being run away with ; not by vanity, 
in a very writer-hke way, but by the brute quadruped, 
never well pick-a-backed by seamen and the literati. 
Do you want a hole in your head as well as in your 
lungs ? And are you not contented with the Neck^ cry- 
ing " lost, lost," but you must break your own ? Is your 
head no better than a common pumpkin, that you must 
go pitching on it, and grazing the " dome of thought and 
palace of the soul ? " I think I see you getting up — not 
content with expectorating blood — spitting mud ! And, 
plague take you, all through trotting on an earthly road- 
ster, w^hen you might have been soaring so celestially 
on Pegasus, after his feed of " husk and grain." Do you 
really expect, though you die of riding, that you will get 
an equestrian statue for it at Trafalgar Square, Cockspur 
Street, or in front of the new Exchange ? Not a bronze 
poney ! Nor will you get a shilling a sheet the more 
from " Hood's " or " Blackwood's," no, nor from any of 
the Sporting Magazines, for going at a gate without 
hounds or fox ! And a father too, with a baby and a 
boy, and a young lord to bring up ! And a friend, with 
such friends as a Blair, a Salomans, and a Hood, and all 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



201 



the Pratts, to expose himself to be kicked out of such 
society by a hoof. Oh ! Philippus, you deserve a Piiih'p- 
pic — and here it is ! Seriously, I am glad you escaped, 
and hope " you will not do so any more." If you must 
run risks, do it as I do, on two legs, and at a walk — for 
such invalids, a damp clothes-horse is danger enough — 
or if you must go pick-a-back, get acquainted with some 
sheriff that can lend you a quiet nag. 

I am come back here from Vanbrugh House for good 
— much better ; and have resumed the driving of the 
Magazine. I am sorry to have had the last of the " Sea- 
side Lore : " but your beautiful poem was some consola- 
tion. It has been much admired by my friends. Don't 
get too proud with your Marchionesses for the muses. 
My bust is modelled and cast. It is said to be a correct 
likeness : two parts Methodist, to one of Humourist, and 
quite recognisable in spite of the Hood all over the face. 

To-morrow I take a trip to Calais, for a day only, with 
Fanny, for the sake of the voyage and sea air. We are 
a brace in need of bracing, as you know. If I can catch 
a sea-horse, I will, for you to ride in the Pace of Port- 
land. Ward accompanies to edit the main sheet, and 
return the whole Packet if unsuitable. I only hope he 
won't be sick without " Notice to Correspondents." 

Pray for us, and for peace, for if a war breaks out while 
we are there, the Magazine will be as bad as blown up, and 
I might as well be cased full-length, in plaster of Paris. 

By the bye, have you read the " Mysteries of Paris ? " 
Very bad ! Or the " Amber Witch," which is very good ? 
Or do you read nothing but Burke and Debrett to the 
young Peerage ? Do you like my novel ? or do you pre- 

9* 



202 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



fer Rookwood for the sake of the ride to York ? 

advertises " Revelations of London," in imitation of the 
Parisian mysteries, of conrse ! Won't they be very full 
of the slang of the Rookery ? The mere idea gives me 
the Back-Slumhago I 

Write soon, and tell me how you like your new po- 
sition, and how you live. Aristocratically enough I 
guess, and spitting nothing under high blood. Your 
stomach is a mere game bag, or pot for the preserves, 
eh ? And some fine day you will come and triumph 
over us with your corpulence, and " Phillips me like a 
three-man beadle." For you drink the choicest of wines 
of course — your smallest beer old double X ale. What 
a change for an author ! And then you lie I warrant in 
a down bed, with such sheets ! every one equal to forty- 
eight pages of superfine cambric, margined with lace and 
hot-pressed with a silver warming-pan ! Nevertheless 
come some day and see us — some day when you are 
ordered to live very low, and then perhaps our best holiday 
diet may be good enough for you. We are very poor 
and have only seventy-two thousand a-year (pence mind, 
not pounds), and our names not even in the Post-office 
Directory, much less the Court Guide ! 

Well, if it is n't too great a liberty, God bless you ! 
Mrs. Hood hopes you will forgive her offering her kind 
regards ; and Fanny and Tom presume to join in the 
same. And if you would condescend to present my kind 
regards and respects to Mr. Salomans, it would exceed- 
ingly oblige. 

Dear Phillips, 
Yours very truly, and hoping no offence, 

Tnos. Hood. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



203 



The following letter was written in the first half of 
this year, but I cannot ascertain the exact date. 

Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Road, Tuesday Night. 

Dear Reseigh, 
Nothing is nearer to my will, or farther fi-om my 
power, than getting and dining out. I have got no 
farther in either than the garden, and a fowl's merry- 
thought. 

It -would give me great pleasure to accept Mr. Rolt's 
kind invitation, and still more to hear Mr. Bacon's mas- 
terly reading of the " Song of the Shirt." But I have 
been too near singing the Song of the Swan, and too re- 
cently, to admit of such delights. In truth, I hardly feel 
quite yet out of the Valley of the Shadow, or much more 
than a shadow myself. 

Pray say this to our friend, and explain how slowly I 
am compelled to mend : so slowly, that I 'm darn'd if I 
know when I shall be mended. 

I am working, nevertheless, with pen and pencil, in 
spite of the M. D.s, who ordered me to do nothing ; but 
I found it so hard to do, I preferred writing and drawing. 
Besides which, for all my ill-looking-ness, there is one 
man coming to draw me, and another to model me, as if 
I were fat enough to hust. Luckily, I am capital at sit- 
ting just now, and not bad at lying ; as to w^alking or 
standing, I am as feeble almost as a baby on my pins, 
which, by the way, have dwindled into needles. 
I am, dear Reseigh, 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 



204 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



The following letter was written to the secretaries of 
the IManchester Athenaeum, in answer to one from them 
conveying an invitation to a soiree at that institution. 

Devoxshike Lodge, New Finchley Eoad, St. John's Wood, 

October \st, 1844. 

Dear Sirs, 

I should sooner have answered your obliging letter, 
and the flattering invitation which it conveyed, but my 
state was so precarious, that it seemed presumptuous, 
without a morning certain in September, to speculate on 
a soiree in October. It would indeed afford me very 
great pleasure to be present at the meeting on the 3rd, 
but really I have not " man " or " chest " enough for 
Manchester ; and, as for Mr. Disraeli, might as well hope 
for an introduction to Ben Ledi or Ben Nevis ! For me 
all long journeys, save one, are over. Recent experi- 
mental trips have shown that I am barely equal to water- 
carriage, and then " with care," like brittle glass or frail 
crockery. No slight hardship, while steam and rail afford 
such facilities for locomotion, to be compelled to renounce 
travelling! — to be incapable of physical activity just 
when young England is promising parochial May-poles 
and county Cricket. The truth is, I am a confirmed in- 
valid, and almost set in for still-life — a condition irksome 
enough, and which would be intolerable but for the com- 
fort and consolation I derive from the diversions of 
authorship and the blessed springs of Literature. 

Fortunately the head — that has a mind to it — may 
travel without those pantings, which beset spasmodic 
lungs : the thoughts can expatiate without such palpita- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



205 



tions as result from the excursions of the legs. Forbid- 
den to walk, there is the run of the library ; but I have 
already described the advantages of books and reading, 
by help of which even the bed-ridden may enjoy a longer 
range than Captain Warner's. Suffice it, that experi- 
ence and suffering have confirmed my former views, that, 
if anything could aggravate the evil of becoming what 
the Scotch call " a puir silly body," it must be a poor 
silly mind, incapable of wholesome exercise, without 
appetite for intellectual food, or the power of digest- 
ing it. 

And, as age and accidents to the human machinery 
will impair the strongest horse-power of health, whilst 
the fairest mercantile endeavour may fail to secure a for- 
tune, I would earnestly forewarn all persons within reach 
of my counsel — especially the young — to provide against 
such contingencies by the timely cultivation and enrich- 
ment of that divine allotment, which it depends on our- 
selves to render a flower-garden or a dead waste — a 
pleasure-ground visited by the Graces and frequented by 
the Fairies, or a wilderness haunted by Satyrs. 

But I need not dwell longer on these topics. You will 
have a chairman, who, inspired by his father's spirit, will 
discourse so eloquently of the pursuits and amenities of 
literature, and the advantages of the Athenceum, that 
every leg in the hall will become a member. In brighter 
colours than mine, he will paint, to the " new generation " 
of your busy city, the wholesome recreation to be de- 
rived from Science and Art — the instruction and amuse- 
ment to be gained from works of Philosophy and Poetry, 
of History, Biography, and Travels ; and last, not least, 



206 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



the infinite relief, amidst commercial occupations, of alter- 
nating matters of Fiction with Factory. 

Pray accept my warmest wishes for the success of 
your soiree, and the permanent prosperity of your insti- 
tution, and 

Believe me, dear Sirs, 

Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Edward Watkixs, Esq., 
Peter Berlyn, Esq., 

Honorary Secretaries, 

Soiree Committee. 

In this month, October, my mother is again the sad 
chronicler of illness and hard work. She says in a letter 
to M. de Franck — 

" He is now in the midst of work for the Magazine ; 
he only last week resumed the labour of it — a friend 
did it for him, as he was forbidden even to write, though 
he did break through the injunction. He was more seri- 
ously ill than ever I saw him, — for three weeks in ex- 
treme danger, three physicians attending. Dr. Elliot 
came daily ten miles to see him, which, we feel, was an 
extraordinary act of friendship, with his extensive prac- 
tice in his own neighbourhood. Hood suffered dreadfully 
from spasmodic shortness of breath, and the doctors are 
astonished at his recovery ; but he is sadly shaken and 
reduced in strength. He went to Blackheath for two 
months when he was well enough for removal from home, 
and returned here about a month or six weeks ago. We 
fear the clay soil of this neighbourhood does not agree 
with him, and that we must move again, which we are 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



207 



sorry for, as we have a very pretty house, and took it 
for three years from last Christmas. We are trying to 
let it, but it is a bad time of year ; if we succeed in get- 
ting rid of it, we think of going into London for the 
winter, to be nearer the Doctor, in case Hood should be 
ill again : indeed, I am sorry to say he is never well 
now — unable to walk the shortest distance without suf- 
fering, and feeling every change of weather. Last au- 
tumn (I mean 1 843) he went to Edinburgh for a fort- 
night. Since he returned from Blackheath in September, 
he went over to Calais by one packet and returned by 
the next, taking Fanny with him ; but it was too much 
fatigue, and he was not well after it." 

To this letter my father adds one of his little cheerful 
postscripts : — 

Dear Johnny, 
" Jack 's alive ! " Three doctors could not kill me, so 
I may live a year or two. But I almost went a-fishing 
in Lethe for forgotten fishes. You talk of my excess ! 
Why, I am hardly allowed table-beer and water, and 
never go out to balls ! Now you are in the " John- 
d'armes," you ought to come and take a lesson of our 
new police, who are almost as military as yours, and 
more civil I suspect. If you want a job, you shall 
mount guard at my Magazine and fight all my duels. 
Editors get into them now and then. I will write to the 
Prince. Tom says, he should so like to see you in 
green and gold,* you must be so like a beetle ! 
* * * * 

* Mr. Franck had now got an appointment in the Gens d'armerie, 
or Coast Guard, and sent my father a sketch of his uniform. — T. H. 



208 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



The ensuing letter was written to Sir E. Bulwer Lyt- 
ton, who contributed " The Death of Clytemnestra," a 
Dramatic Sketch, to the November number of the Mag- 
azine. 

Devonshire Lodge, October ZOth. 

Dear Sir, 

By the same post which brings this you will receive a 
copy of the Magazine. 

I cannot say how vexed I have been to find when too 
late, that you had expressed a particular wish for a proof. 
The article only reached me in print on Friday evening, 
with a memorandum on the MS., which led me to sup- 
pose that, being unwell, you confided the correction to 
myself or Mr. Ward; and having carefully compared 
the sheet with the MS., I sent it to press, the holiday on 
Monday urging me to put forward the printing. I ear- 
nestly hope you will find no error of any consequence ; 
and there was no addition needed to a Dramatic Sketch, 
which must make the reading public in general feel more 
interest in the Greek Hamlet, than they commonly do in 
classic subjects. 

I need not say how highly I estimate such a token of 
your great kindness and consideration ; the more so, 
remembering your state of health and probable disinclina- 
tion to literary occupation, with which my own experi- 
ence made me sympathise so strongly, that I have sev- 
eral times been on the point of writing to request you to 
dismiss the matter altogether from your mind till a fitter 
season, lest the mere heat of composition and the fever- 
ishness of an untimely task, should mull the Cold Water 
Cure. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



209 



Pray accept my heartfelt thanks for this and the great 
interest you have otherwise taken in my behalf I can 
accept kindness from literary men, as from relations, 
which I could not take from others, not endeared to me 
by admiration, respect, community of pursuit, and that 
mental intimacy, which far transcends mere personal 
acquaintance, and makes a name " a household word." 

If it be true as I have understood, that you have taken 
leave of authorship, I shall reckon it no light honour to 
have had your last words in my Magazine : — the last 
act of your pen being devoted to a kindly and consistent 
purpose. But I am not selfish enough to desire it at the 
expense of so wide a circle as your readers. I will not 
formally wish that you may write again for the world, 
knowing that you will not be able to help it any more 
than the flow of the tide, should mental or moral impulse 
urge you to work out some beautiful fiction, illustrate 
some great principle, or advocate some good cause. But 
in any case you have richly earned that dignified leisure, 
with all its delights, which no one wishes you more 
abundantly or fervently than. 

Dear Sir, 

Your most obliged, and grateful servant, 

Thos. Hood. 

I resumed the management of the " Magazine " last 
month, from which you may conclude that I am better — 
as well probably as I ever can be, from the nature of my 
complaints. It is not well, perhaps, for me to work so 
much, but besides the necessity for exertion, from long 
habit my mind refuses to be passive, and seems the more 

N 



210 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



restless from my inability to exert much bodily activity. 
I sleep little, and my head, instead of a shady chamber, 
is like a hall with a lamp burning in it all night. And 
so it will be to the end. I must " die in harness " like a 
Hero, — or a horse. 
Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart. 

The Magazine had been published four months (since 
April or May) at Mr. Renshaw's in the Strand, where it 
figured among medical books, which were Mr. Renshaw's 
usual line. In the November number appeared " The 
Lay of the Labourer." In the Spring of the year Gif- 
ford White, a labourer, aged eighteen, was sentenced 
(pleading guilty) for sending a threatening letter to the 
Farmers of Bluntisham, Hunts — to Transportation for 
Life ! It is unfair to extract portions from the strong 
appeal made by my father on his behalf, but I will at- 
tempt to do my best. " Methinks I hear a voice say ' it 
was necessary to make an example ' — a proceeding 
always accompanied by a certain degree of hardship, if 
not injustice, as regards the party selected to be punished 
in terrorem. * * * * he pleaded guilty : a course 
generally admitted as an extenuation of guilt. His 
youth ought to have been a circumstance in his favour ; 
and, above all, the consideration that a threat does not 
necessarily involve the intent, much less the deed. * * 
* * The address generally, ' to the farmers,' shows it 
not to have been the inspiration of personal malice. The 
threat is not a direct and positive one. * * * The 
wish of the writer is obviously not father to the menace ; 
on the contrary, he expostulates and appeals, methinks 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



211 



most touchingly, to the reason, tlie justice, even the com- 
passion, of the very parties, ' to be burnt in their beds.' 
* * Who could fail to be moved by a momentous 
question and declaration, re-echoed by thousands and 
thousands of able and willing, but starving labourers — 
' What are we to do if you don't set us to work ? We 
must do something. The fact is we cannot go on any 
longer ! ' * * * It is in your power, Sir James 
Graham, to lay the ghost that is haunting me. But that 
is a trifle. By a due intercession with the earthly 
Fountain of Mercy you may convert a melancholy 
Shadow into a happier Reality, a righted man, a much 
pleasanter image to mingle in our waking visions, as well 
as in those dreams which, as Hamlet conjectures, may 
soothe or disturb us in our coffins. Think, Sir, of poor 
Gifford White, inquire into his hard case, and give it 
your humane consideration, as that of a fellow-man with 
an immortal soul, a ' possible angel ' to be met here- 
after face to face. 

" To me, should this appeal meet with any success, it 
will be one of the dearest deeds of my pen. I shall not 
repent a wide deviation from my usual course ; or be- 
grudge the pain and trouble caused me by the providen- 
tial visitings of an importunate phantom. In any case, 
my own responsibility is at an end. I have relieved 
my heart, appeased my conscience, and absolved my 
soul ! " 

Note. — I am able to attest to the earnestness of this 
appeal. From the beginning of the year a paper, con- 
taining an epitome of this case, had stood in a prominent 



212 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 

position, in fact the most prominent, on the mantelpiece 
of my father's study ; and I have often heard him refer 
to it, and speak to his friends of the actual " haunting " 
of the spirit of that unhappy living victim of a panic. I 
can perfectly recall the impression which the reiterated 
statement of this fact made upon me ; and I feel con- 
vinced that the Phantom spoken of (those, who choose, 
may attribute it to the state of my father's health) was 
as really impressed on the brain as if it had been actu- 
ally transmitted by the retina of the eye. The appeal, I 
forgot to say, failed to do more than draw out a few 
inches of red tape by way of reply, and I know that my 
father, who was very sensitive on these points, was 
pained to think that he had adopted a course, thus un- 
usual to him, with so little benefit to those, for whom he 
had violated a rule of conduct, that he had long strictly 
adhered to. — T. H. 

November Zrd, 1844. 

Dear Doctor, 
Many thanks for your congratulations. I know you 
would not say that you like the paper on the " Labour- 
ers " as a mere compliment, which makes your opinion 
worth a hundred criticisms. I hope it will do good to all 
parties, — to me among the rest, to be very candid — for 
I am a Labourer too. I do not think that I have been 
so exhausted, as I expected to have been, in proportion 
to my M^ork. 

I had not seen Ward since our trip to Calais till we 
met at Renshaw's, on the day of the Queen's Procession 
to the City. I concluded that he was very busy in his 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



213 



new abode, as he has been, with bricklayers, &c., and did 
not therefore expect any help from him. 
I am, 

Dear Doctor, 

Yours ever truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

Devonshire Lodge, Saturday, Nov. 1S44. 
My dear Mrs. Elliot, 
I feel so much pleasure in your pleasure, and therefore 
am so well pleased in pleasing you both, that I could not 
but be delighted with your kind note. If all who read 
the paper would but feel it as you do, my object would 
be gained. 

It was written in very serious earnest, — the case 
having made the strong impression on me I have de- 
scribed. My hope is that the " Times " will take up 
the subject ; I have sent a copy, through a mutual friend, 
to the Editors, also a copy to Sir J. Graham, who has 
sent me a formal acknowledgment of the receipt. I fear 
he will do no more ; they say he is a cold, hard man, 
bigoted to the New Poor Law. 

Your friendly inference as to my comparative vigour 
is correct. I am better than could have been expected 
from the fag of two months, and, this one, have done 
more than usual. And next number is to be a sort of 
" Comic Annual " number, with cuts for Christmas. So 
that I have plenty of work cut out. I may come one 

day to Stratford, to dine with the H 's, if I get on 

well, in which case you will see us of course. In the 
meantime kiss dear May and Jeanie for me, and give my 
love to Dimnie, and tell him the monkey is very well. 



214 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



but rather chilly ; and Tom is military mad, playing 
with soldiers. Fanny much better for her medicine, for 
which pray thank the Doctor, and don't " wish him the 
same." 

Jane, and all, unite in love to you, wholesale and re- 
tail, with 

Yours ever truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

About this time, aware of the shattered state of my 
father's health, and the great uncertainty of what might 
occur from further serious attacks of his disease, — sev- 
eral of my father's friends exerted themselves to place 
his claims, as a literary man, before the government, as 
grounds for the grant of a pension. By these means, 
not only a future provision was secured, in the event of 
his death, to those dearest to him, but — what was still 
more important — by this assistance, he would be able 
to relax his constant and harassing exertions. There 
would then be grounds for hope that his life might be 
spared. As far back as 1840, Dr. Elliot had given it as 
his opinion that perfect rest was necessary, and after the 
interval of four more years of still greater toil and men- 
tal anxiety, the urgency of the case w^as increased ten- 
fold. Dr. Elliot's letter was, I believe, the basis upon 
which my father's friends urged their application, and it 
was to the following effect. 

Stratford, May llOi, 1840. 

Dear Mrs. Hood, 
It is most necessary and right that you should be cor- 
rectly informed as to the state of health of your husband 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



215 



I hope the following statement will tend to lessen, in 
some degree, your great anxiety regarding him, — for 
though I cannot give you assurance of health or safety, 
yet, instead of the vague and constant apprehension of 
great danger, with which you are impressed by anxious 
watching of his alarming symptoms, I can substitute a 
more accurate knowledge of his disease, and the sources 
whence danger is to be apprehended, and (as a necessary 
result) of the preventive measures, which, if they are 
happily within your reach, may be the means of restor- 
ing him, if not to perfect health, yet to a degree of com- 
fort, and freedom from actual suffering, to which he has 
long been a stranger. 

Your husband is suffering from organic disease of the 
heart, — an enlargement and thickening of it, — with 
contraction of the valves, and from hemorrhage from the 
lungs, or spitting of blood, recurring very frequently. 
There is also disorder of the liver and stomach. These 
diseases have been greatly aggravated of late years by 
the nature of his pursuits, — by the necessity, which, I 
understand, has existed, that he should at all times con- 
tinue his literary labours, being under engagements to 
complete certain works within a stated period. The 
great and continued excitement attendant on such com- 
pulsory efforts, the privation of sleep and rest thereby 
entailed on him, and the consequent anxiety, depression, 
and exhaustion have had a most injurious effect on these 
diseases, bringing on renewed attacks, and reducing him 
to such a state that he has been rendered utterly incapa- 
ble of mental effort. The conviction, that literary effort 
is necessary and urgent, renders the effort fruitless. 



216 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



You must have remarked how generally these danger- 
ous attacks have commenced at a period preceding the 
publication of his books ; you have seen him break down 
under the struggle, and reduced to the brink of the grave 
by repeated attacks of hemorrhage from the lungs, at- 
tended by palpitation of the heart. 

The statement of these facts points out to you that his 
attacks of disease are caused, or aggravated, in a peculiar 
degree, by anxiety, and depression of mind. If he could 
be placed in such circumstances that he would not be 
compelled to work at times, when, from attacks of disease, 
he is really incapable of mental exertion, he might be 
saved from these attacks, or his recovery would be more 
speedy, and certain, and he would be capable of a greater 
amount of mental labour. On the other hand, so long as 
he continues borne down by an overpowering sense of 
the necessity of exertion, under the greatest degree of 
incapability, so long will he be liable to these very dan- 
gerous attacks. 

During the last two months he has been in my house, 
suffering in the manner now described, and he has been 
so much reduced in strength by hemorrhage lasting for 
several weeks, by venesection, and by other remedial 
means, that he has been unable, for many days in succes- 
sion, to leave his bed. Of course he has been most 
strictly prohibited from attempting any literary composi- 
tion. He has been in great danger. I will not at present 
trouble you with a detail of the remedial means to be 
pursued, as they fall directly under my personal guidance. 
I remain, dear Mrs. Hood, 

Very truly your Friend, 

W. Elliot. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



217 



The foregoing painful but powerful description of my 
father's sufferings w^s strictly true, as seen by most 
skilful and affectionate eyes. The alleviations he then 
( long ago ! ) suggested, had, from stern necessity, been 
found impossible. So long as my father dragged on his 
lingering life, so long it seemed to be inevitably and 
sternly fore-doomed to hard and incessant toil. 

At the end of 1844 however, his disease seemed to 
have reached a serious crisis, and it was then felt some 
effort was necessary. Accordingly many kind and zealous 
friends interested themselves, and even personal strangers 
came forward to aid the project. Among others may be 
mentioned the late Earl of Ellesmere, (then Lord F. 
Egerton) the late Lord Wharncliffe, Mr. R. Monckton 
ISIilnes, Mr. F. O. Ward, and several others, whose 
names I cannot now trace. A semi-official notice was 
sent to my father, desiring him to name either of his 
female relatives, on whom a pension might be conferred, 
as his own life was so very precarious. My father ac- 
cordingly sent my mother's name. 

I cannot find a clear copy of his letter, but from a 
sketch of it, I think the following must be substantially 
correct. 

November, 1844. 

SiK, 

In your comparative leisure at Brighton, if a Prime 
Minister has even comparative leisure, you may find time 
to accept and taste the grateful acknowledgments of one, 
w^hom you have served from motives rarely attributed to 
such Patrons. 

VOL. II. 10 



218 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Complaints have been often made of the neglect of lit- 
erature and literary men by the State and its ministers. 
I have joined in them myself, but with reference to au- 
thors in general — I am quite aware of my own unfitness 
for any of those posts alluded to by Mr. Smythe in his 
speech, especially for those official employments, which, 
if I had any ambition that way, I should be physically 
unable to fulfil. Almost too thin to represent myself, I 
should make a very indifferent ambassador, consul, or 
attach^. You may therefore rely. Sir, on my entertain- 
ing no such gratitude for " favours to come." 

Such impressions have occasionally received confirma- 
tion from unlucky oversights, such as I suppose to have 
caused the omission of "Literature" from the Queen's 
answer to the Civic address, in which it was inserted. 
An unlucky omission I presume to say; for whatever 
differences may obtain in society, that will be an unlucky 
one, which distinguishes a Sovereign from a reading pub- 
lic, rapidly becoming a reading people. 

As an Author I cannot but think it a good omen for 
the cause, that this mark of your favour has fallen on 
a writer so totally unconnected with party politics as 
myself, whose favourite theory of Government is, " An 
Angel from Heaven, and a Despotism." 

As a Man, I am deeply sensible of a consideration and 
kindness, which have made this "work-a-day" world 
more park-like to me, as well as to the people of Man- 
chester, and will render the poor remnant of my life 
much happier, and easier, than it could be with the pros- 
pect that was before me. 

My humble name has sufficiently occupied your 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 219 



thoughts ah-eady, yet may it, with its pleasanter associa- 
tions recur to you, whenever you meet with a discon- 
tented partisan, or a political in grate ! 

Lord F. Egerton having kindly offered to convey my 
acceptance and choice to you, I have forwarded them, 
but could not resist the direct expression of my senti- 
ments as to a " Premier pas^' which, instead of " costing," 
enriches me. 

I have the honour to be, 

&c., &c., 

Thomas Hood. 

To THK Right Hon. Sir Robert Peel, Bart. 

Sir Robert Peel acknowledged this, in the following 
gratifying and kind manner. The formal official an- 
nouncement came soon after. 

Brighton, November 10th, 1844. 

Sir, 

I am more than repaid by the personal satisfaction, 
which I have had in doing that, for which you return me 
warm and characteristic acknowledgments. 

You perhaps think that you are known to one, with 
such multifarious occupations as myself, merely by gen- 
eral reputation as an author ; but I assure you that there 
can be little, which you have written and acknowledged, 
which I have not read ; and that there are few, who can 
appreciate and admire more than myself, the good sense 
and good feeling, which have taught you to infuse so 
much fun and merriment into writings correcting folly, and 



220 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



exposing absurditie?, and yet never trespassing beyond 
those limits, within which wit and facetiousness are not 
very often confined. You may write on with the con- 
sciousness of independence, as free and unfettered, as if 
no communication had ever passed between us. I am 
hot conferring a private obligation upon you, but am ful- 
filling the intentions of the Legislature, which has placed 
at the disposal of the Crown a certain sum (miserable, 
indeed, in amount) to be applied to the recognition of 
public claims on the Bounty of the Crown. If you will 
review the names of those, whose claims have been ad- 
mitted on account of th«ir literary, or scientific eminence, 
you will find an ample confirmation of the truth of my 
statement. 

One return, indeed, I shall ask of you, — that you 
will give me the opportunity of making your personal 
acquaintance. 

Believe me to be. 

Faithfully yours, 

Egbert Peel. 

Devonshire Lodge, November Vlth. 

Dear Doctor, 
I send you copies of my letter to Sir R. Peel, and his 
very hind reply just come to hand. It is very gratifying 
indeed. I wrote to Lord F. Egerton, but think the 
Premier had not yet seen it ; as, through our post irregu- 
larity, it would not get to Lord E. perhaps till to-day. 
Ward was to have dined here with us yesterday, but he 
had forgotten a previous engagement, and did not come. 
But he was up here on Saturday niglit. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 221 



Now I have got the ear of the Premier, what can I 
do for you ? Should you hke to be Physician to the 
Forces ? 

I am sorry that this cannot go to-night, as it is past 
eight, for you will be pleased, and I wish it were sooner, 
after all my less agreeable communications. 
God bless you all. We join in love to you. 

Yours ever truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

We have sold twenty more copies of the Magazine 
this month. There was a capital notice in the " League," 
on Saturday, which circulates 28,000. The effect of it, 
't is yet too soon to feel. 

Whitehall, November 16<fe, 1844. 

Sir, 

I have the satisfaction of acquainting you that the 
Queen has approved of my proposal to Her Majesty, 
that a pension of one hundred pounds per annum for her 
life should be granted to Mrs. Hood, on the grounds 
mentioned in my former communication to you. 

I have the honour to be, 
Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

Robert Peel. 

This grant will take effect from June last. 

Devonshire Lodge, Monday Morning^ Nov. 17, 1844. 

Dear Doctor, 
Sir R. Peel came up from Burleigh on Tuesday 



222 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



night, and went down to Brighton on Saturday. If he 
liad written by post I should not have had it till to-day. 
So he sent his servant with the following on Saturday 
night, another mark of considerate attention. 

* * * * 

wanted to write to Sir R. Peel for permission to 

publish his former letter, but I wrote and begged him 
not — it was obviously a private letter ; and though Sir 
R. might not refuse, he would take care not to write to 
me again, if I merely used him as a puffing advertise- 
ment. 

The "Labourer" has made a great hit, and gone 
through most of the papers like the " Song of the Shirt." 
I think it will tell in the sale at the end of the year. I 
have been very unwell. One day, Jane says, I looked 
quite green. I don't wonder, there has been so much 
wet, and I observe all the compo ornamental part of the 
houses, finished here only in autumn, has turned green 
too. But my well is not dry. I have pumped out a 
sheet already of Christmas fun, am drawing some cuts, 
and shall write a sheet more of my novel. 

God bless you all. 

Yours ever truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

My father wrote immediately to acknowledge Sir 
Robert's letter and thoughtful attention in the following 
letter. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



223 



November, 1844. 

Sir, 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your very grati- 
fying communication and the considerate kindness which 
provided for my receiving it on Saturday night. If it 
be well to be remembered at all by a Minister, it is 
better still not to be forgotten by him in a ' hurly Bur- 
leigh ! ' 

I am so inexperienced a pensioner (unlike the father 
of a friend of mine, who was made in his infancy a su- 
perannuated postman), as to be quite ignorant of the 
etiquette of such cases ; but, in the absence of knowledge, 
I feci that it would be quite proper to thank the Queen 
for her gracious approval. May I request of your good- 
ness, at a fit opportunity, to lay my humble and grateful 
acknowledgments at Her Majesty's feet, with the respect- 
ful assurance, that a man, who has lived conscious of his 
good name being the better part of his children's inheri- 
tance, will never disgrace the royal favour. 

Your letter of the 10th inst., which is deposited 
amongst my literaiy heir-looms, I hesitated to answer, 
partly because it gave rise to feelings, w^hich would 
keep without congealing, and partly from knowing edi- 
torially, the oppression of too many " Communications 
from Correspondents." But I may say here how ex- 
tremely flattered I am by your liberal praise and hand- 
some judgment of my writings ; nearly all of which you 
must have seen, if you have read the acknowledged ones. 
The anonymous only comprise a few trifles and re- 
views ; and even against these, as a set-off, I have had 
my name affixed to some pieces I had not written, for 



224 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



example a poem on the Sale of the Stud of the late 
King William. 

As you have done me the high honour to seek, beyond 
this, my personal acquaintance, I can only say, I shall be 
most proud and happy to have the pleasure of waiting 
on you at your convenience. 

I have the honour to be, 
Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Thomas Hood. 

November 23rd. 

Dear Doctor, 

I took last night nearly a glass of wine in some gruel, 
which, with a good deal of sleep, has revived me. My 
head is clear (to begin with the author's index) ; the 
fever heat is gone — so are the musicals — the whistlings 
and wheezings; and I cough seldom. Heart quite 
quiet; this time it seems to have been blameless. On 
the whole, more comfortable than for some time while 
the attack was breeding. 

I heard the other day the following fact — very credit- 
able to the humbler class of readers. Holywell Street, 
Strand, is the head-quarters for cheap, blasphemous, and 
obscene publications, including the French. The chief 
man there is one , but who has besides a more legit- 
imate trade in distributing the periodicals among the 
minor dealers. To engage his services in this line, the 

proprietor of the " N T ," just starting, called 

on him, when asked if it was to be respectable (^. e. 

not immoral), as otherwise he would have nothing to do 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 225 

with it : they had tried the other line, but it did not an- 
swer — it did not take. 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Hood. 




THE GERMAN DWARFS. 



10* 



o 



226 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Christmas of 1844, and the Spring of 1845. 

Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Road. — Letter to Mr. Broderip. — 
Confined to his Bed by accumulating Illnesses. — The Bust and Por- 
trait. — His Last Stanzas. — His Last Letter, addressed to Sir R. 
Peel. — Sir R. Peel's Answer. — His Last Illness. — Great Kindness 
and Attention from Strangers as well as Friends. — His Patience. — 
His Religious Sentiments. — Given over by his Physicians. — His 
Sufferings during his final Attack. — His Death. — His Funeral. — 
.His WiU. 

Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Road, St. John's Wood, 

Saturday (in bed). 

My dear Sir, 
I ought to have sooner acknowledged the receipt of 
your note, with an explanation of the cause of the errors 
you alluded to. The truth is, though it may seem very 
inconsistent with my doings in the Magazine, for the last 
two months (say from the 15th November) I have been 
confined to my bed, and obliged to trust more than usual 
to the printers. You will easily, however, understand 
that with a young periodical, and the interest of another 
proprietor at stake, there are efforts that I must make — 
even though bed-ridden ; and alas, that too many things 
must go undone ! 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



227 



I shall still hope some day to have the pleasure of 
making your personal acquaintance, if I get " taken up " 
before you on purpose, and am, 
My dear Sir, 

Yours very truly, 

Thos. Hood. 

W. J. Broderip, Esq., 

Police Magistrate, Bow Street. 

The Christmas number of the Magazine had come out, 
sparkling with fun and merriment. " Mrs. Peck's Pud- 
ding," and its grotesque illustrations, afforded seasonable 
Christmas amusement at all firesides but its author's. His 
own family never enjoyed his quaint and humorous fan- 
cies, for they were all associated with memories of illness 
and anxiety. Although Hood's " Comic Annual," as he 
himself used to remark with pleasure, was in every house 
seized upon, and almost worn out by the frequent hand- 
ling of little fingers, his own children did not enjoy it till 
the lapse of many years had mercifully softened down 
some of the sad recollections connected with it. The 
only article that I can remember we ever really thor- 
oughly enjoyed, was " Mrs. Gardiner,* a Horticultural 
Romance," and even this was composed in bed. But 

* Another reason why this (which I still believe to be my father's 
most humorous production) was so interesting to us was, that the 

heroine was a ludicrous pen-and-ink portrait of Mrs. R , with whom 

we lodged in Elm Tree Road. Hers was the " large and personal 
love " for flowers, which spoke of them as living beings, and identified 
her even Avith her garden implements. There was a soi*t of polite 
malignity existent between Mrs. R and us children, whose amuse- 
ments and capcrings were circumscribed by injunctions as to the 



228 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



the illness he was then suffering from was only rheumatic 
fever, and not one of his dangerous attacks, and he was 
unusually cheerful. He sat up in bed, dictating it to my 
mother, interrupted by our bursts of irrepressible laugh- 
ter, as joke after joke came from his lips, he all the while 
laughing and relishing it as much as we did. But this 
was a rare — indeed almost solitary — instance ; for he 
could not usually write so well at any time as at night, 
when all the house was quiet. Our family rejoicings 
were generally when the work was over, and we were 
too thankful to be rid of the harass and hurry, to care 
much for the results of such labour. 

At the time of this last Christmas — a memorable one 
to us — my father, having painfully and laboriously fin- 
ished his allotted task, took to his bed, from which he was 
never more to arise, except as a mere temporary refresh- 
ment to sit up in an easy-chair, propped by pillows and 
wrapped in blankets. On Christmas Day he crawled 
out, for our sakes more than his own, into a little dress- 
ing-room next to his bed-room for a few hours ; but it 
was a painful mockery of enjoyment. The cheerful 
spirit that had struggled so long and so bravely with 
adverse circumstances and complicated diseases, was 
quelled at last ; and he scarcely attempted to appear 
cheerful. I think at this time he first realised — not the 

" grass-plot " or " them jerrynums by the kitchen wmder." When- 
ever a ball was knocked over from the cricket-ground (which was 
pretty often the case, oixr house being about mid-wicket of the Mary- 
lebone playing-ground) there used to be a grand race between us, who 
wished to restore the ball, and the old lady, who vowed she would 
burn every one she could catch, because " they was always breaking 
her young shoots, or knocking her heads off." — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



229 



certain ultimate issue of his illness, because this he had 
long known to be mortal, and only a question of a few 
years — but the actual presence of a certain and near 
death. Now he saw that a few months — possibly a few 
weeks — must end his labours and sufferings, and his life 
with them. This he could not but feel keenly, when he 
saw that this was the last Christmas we were all to share 
in this world. 

A letter from my mother to Dr. Elliot, dated the 28th 
of December, 1844, speaks of his continued and increas- 
ing illness, now accompanied by faintness and shortness 
of breath. Even then his spirits seem to have rallied, 
for in a note added to my mother's description of his suf- 
ferings, he says : " I do not cough much, and the breath 
is easier, but I am exhausted, and in want of sleep, and 
almost seem to have what the man called ' Comus Virgil- 
ius.' " My poor mother added : " I fear, my dear Doc- 
tor, that Hood is very ill ; he cannot eat ; he will not take 
wine — it makes him cough. I am afraid of giving you 
trouble by saying all this, but you know his state better 
than I can, and he seems always better when you come. 
I shall feel sure I am mistaken in thinking him so ill if 
you don't come ; and I entreat you not to do so if I am 
too anxious, which cannot be wondered at, so much as my 
nerves are tried by always being with him alone." 

After this he rallied a little once more, or rather roused 
up at the call for the January number of the Magazine. 
He never left his bed again, but had intervals compara- 
tively free from his most distressing symptoms. He wrote, 
propped up in bed, for this number two more chapters of 
"Our Family," (one of his best works, unfinished, alas ! but 



230 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



containing a character of great humour, Catechism Jack) ; 
" A Letter from the Cape," " Domestic Mesmerism," a 
review of " The Chimes," and an " Echo " of two pages, 
besides drawing numerous cuts for tail-pieces, &c. 

The " Echo " describes his sitting for his bust to ]VIr. 
Edward Davis. I have ventured to quote it entire. 

" Some months since, Mr. Edward Davis, the well- 
known sculptor, applied to me to sit to him for a bust. 
My vanity readily complied with the request, and in due 
time I found myself in his studio, installed in a crimson- 
covered elbow-chair, amidst an assemblage of heads, hard 
and soft, white, drab, and stone colour. Here a young 
nobleman, one of the handsomest of the day, in painted 
plaster ; there a benevolent-looking bishop in clear white 
sparkling marble, next to a brown clay head, like Refined 
and Moist. A number of unfinished models of what 
Beau Brummel would have called "damp strangers," 
were tied up in wet cloths, from which every moment you 
expected to hear a sneeze ; the veiled ones comprising a 
lady or two, a barrister, and a judge. All these were on 
pedestals ; but in the background, on boards, stood numer- 
ous other busts, dwarfish and gigantic, heads and shoul- 
ders, like Oriental Genii coming up through the floor — 
some white and clean, as if fresh from the waters under 
the earth ; others dingy and smoky, as if from its subter- 
ranean fireplaces — some young, some old, some smiling, 
and others grave, or even frowning severely : with one 
alarming face, reminding me of those hard, brutal coun- 
tenances that are seen on street-doors. 

" On the mantel-shelf silently roared the Caput of Lao- 
coon, with deeply indented eyeballs, instead of the regu- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 231 



lation blanks, and what the play people call a practicable 
mouth, i. e. into which you might poke your finger down 
to the gullet ; and lastly, on the walls were sundry mys- 
tical sketches in black and white chalk, which you might 
turn, as fancy prompted, like Hamlet's cloud, into any 
figure you pleased, from a weasel to a whale. 

" To return to self. The artist, after setting before 
me what seemed a small mountain of putty, with a bold 
scoop of his thumbs, marked out my eyes ; next taking a 
good pinch of clay — an operation I seemed to feel by 
sympathy — from between my shoulders, clapped me on a 
rough nose, and then stuck the surplus material in a 
large wart on my chest. In short, by similar proceedings, 
scraping, smoothing, dabbing on, and taking off, at the 
end of the first sitting, the sculptor had made the upper 
half of a mud doll, the size of life, looking very like the 
* idol of his own circle ' in the Cannibal Islands. 

" At subsequent sittings, this heathen figure gradually 
became, not only more Christian-like, but more and more 
like the original : till finally it put on that striking re- 
semblance, which is so satisfactory to one's wife and 
family, and, as it were, introduces a man to himself. 

"An engraving by Mr. Heath from this bust is in- 
tended to form the frontispiece to the second volume of 
this Magazine, and will be given with the next number, 
should the interval be sufficient for the careful execution 
and finish of the plate. The Address, that should have 
been offered the present month, will accompany the en- 
graving ; the same cause that postpones it, a severe indis- 
position, will be accepted perhaps as a sufficient apology 
for the absence of the usual Answers to Correspondents. 



232 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



In the meantime all good wishes are briefly tendered to 
the vast ring of friends, and the increasing circle of sub- 
scribers, to whose entertainment at the present season, I 
have tried to contribute." — T. H. 

At the beginning of the year '45, my father wrote, I 
believe, several notes taking a farewell of his friends. 
Among these, one to the late Dr. Moir (better known as 
Delta) is so touching and simple, and so characteristic of 
his patience and resignation, that the Memorials would 
lack completeness if it were omitted. 

Dear Moir, 

God bless you and yours, and good-by ! I drop these 
few lines, as in a bottle from a ship water-logged, and on 
the brink of foundering, being in the last stage of drop- 
sical debility ; but though suffering in body, serene in 
mind. So without reversing my union-jack, I await my 
last lurch. Till which, believe me, dear Moir, 
Yours most truly, 

Thomas Hood. 

In the February number appeared two more chapters 
of " Our Family," the last, " doomed to remain like his 
life a great fragment." In this number appeared also 
some touching " Stanzas," which, though they are in- 
cluded in the " Serious Poems," I venture to reprint 
here ; the first verse describing so touchingly his own 
sensations, and the last not destined to be realized here, 
but, his children believe, a prophetic foretaste of the 
hereafter. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



233 



STANZAS. 

Farewell Life ! my senses swim ; 
And the world is growing dim ; 
Thronging shadows cloud the light, 
Like the advent of the night, — 
Colder, colder, colder still, — 
Upward steals a vapour chill — 
Strong the earthy odour grows — 
I smell the Mould above the Eose ! 

Welcome Life ! The Spirit strives ! 
Strength returns, and hope revives ; 
Cloudy fears and shapes forlorn 
Fly like shadows at the morn, — 
O'er the earth there comes a bloom — 
Sunny light for sullen gloom, 
Warm perfume for vapours cold — 
I smell the Rose above the Mould ! 

It was now an acknowledged fact that my dear father 
could not rally again from this last attack ; his faithful 
and tender physicians had reluctantly given him up, and 
he knew it himself, and understood that all human means 
were at end, and that death was coming with slow but 
certain steps. He had, for years past, known, as well as 
his doctors, his own frail tenure of existence, and had 
more than once, as he said himself, " been so near Death's 
door, he could almost fancy he heard the creaking of the 
hinges ; " and he was now fully aware that at last his 
feeble step was on its very threshold. With this knowl- 
edge he wrote the following beautiful letter to Sir Robert 
Peel — worthy of being the last letter of such a man. 



234 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Road. 
Dkar Sir, 

"We are not to meet in the flesh. Given over by my 
physicians and by myself, I am only kept alive by fre- 
quent instalments of mulled port wine. In this extremity 
I feel a comfort, for which I cannot refrain from again 
thanking you, with all the sincerity of a dying man, 

— and, at the same time, bidding you a respectful 
farewell. 

Thank God my mind is composed and my reason un- 
disturbed, but my race as an author is run. My physical 
debility finds no tonic virtue in a steel pen, otherwise I 
would have written one more paper — a forewarning one 

— against an evil, or the danger of it, arising from a 
literary movement in which I have had some share, a 
one-sided humanity, opposite to that Catholic Shaksperian 
sympathy, which felt with King as well as Peasant, and 
duly estimated the mortal temptations of both stations. 
Certain classes at the poles of Society are already too far 
asunder : it should be the duty of our writers to draw 
them nearer by kindly attraction, not to aggravate the 
existing repulsion, and place a wider moral gulf between 
Rich and Poor, with Hate on the one side and Fear on 
the other. But I am too weak for this task, the last I 
had set myself ; it is death that stops my pen, you see, 
and not the pension. 

God bless you, sir, and prosper all your measures for 
the benefit of my beloved country. 

I have the honour to be. Sir, 
Your most grateful and obedient Servant, 

Thos. Hood. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



235 



This Sir Robert Peel answered in the following note : — 

Whitehall. 

Dear Sir, 

I must write one line to express an earnest hope that 
it will please God to restore you to health and strength ; 
and that you may be enabled to apply your unimpaired 
faculties to the inculcation of those just and really benev- 
olent doctrines, which are shadowed out in the letter you 
have addressed to me. With my best wishes, beheve me, 
Dear Sir, faithfully yours, 

Robert Peel. 

My father's devoted friend, Mr. Ward, meanwhile 
edited the Magazine on his behalf. In the number for 
the 1st of March, appeared the first public announce- 
ment of my father's hopeless illness in the following 
words : — 

"THE ECHO. 

" We can hardly congratulate our readers on present- 
ing them, this month, with an effigy of Thomas Hood's 
outward features, instead of that portraiture of his mind, 
and those traces of his kindly heart, which he has been 
wont, with his own pen, to draw in these pages. And 
we lament still more that we must add a regret to the 
disappointment of our readers, by communicating to them 
the sad tidings that the aching original of that pictured 
brow, is again laid low by dangerous illness, again scarred 
(to borrow an expression of his own) 'by the crooked 
autograph of pain.' Through many a previous paroxysm 



236 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



of his malady, when life and death hung trembling in 
the balance, jMr. Hood has worked on steadily for our 
instruction and amusement ; throwing often into a hu- 
morous chapter, or impassioned poem, the power which 
was needed to restore exhausted nature. During the 
past month, however, his physical strength has completely 
given way : and, almost as much through incapacity of 
his hand to hold the pen, as of his brain for any length 
of time to guide it, he has at last been compelled to de- 
sist from composition. Those, in whom admiration of 
the writer has induced also a friendly feeling towards the 
man, will have some consolation in learning that amidst 
his sufferings, which have been severe, his cheerful phi- 
losophy has never failed him ; but that around his sick 
bed, as in his writings, and in his life, he has known how 
to lighten the melancholy of those about him, and to 
mingle laughter with their tears. We have thought it 
due to our readers and the public, thus briefly to make 
known that Mr. Hood is more seriously ill than even he 
has ever been before ; avoiding to express any hopes or 
forebodings of our own, or to prejudge the uncertain 
issues of life and death." 

In fact, friendship and sympathy poured in upon him ; 
all that skill could do to alleviate his sufferings was done, 
and in that respect the greatest of the land could not 
have possessed more. Loving friends were ready to 
write for him, as they had long done already ; and many 
literary men helped him with something, even those most 
pressed for time. Mr. Ward, whenever engagements 
permitted, came to him, often sat up at night with him, 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 237 



and loved him like a brother. Old and new friends alike 
came to see him, and uttered their earnest sympathies 
and farewells ; and for all he had kind and cheerful 
words and thoughts. Game, wine, and fruit were sent to 
tempt the failing appetite, and evidences of thoughtful 
kindness came even from strange and unknown hands. 
Among other touching proofs of admiration and esteem, 
was a note containing only these words in a feigned hand, 

A SHIRT! 

AND A SINCERE WISH FOR HEALTH. 

The envelope contained a bank note for 201. He re- 
ceived besides a copy of very beautiful verses, also 
anonymous. * 

* Apart from the high value they have in our eyes, the lines are so 
really meritorious, that we print them. If I could place my hand in 
the hand, and look in the face, of their writer, I should feel deeply 
gratified. — T. H. 

TO T. HOOD, ON HEARING OF HIS SICKNESS. 

Were I in Heaven, my song would be of mirth 
When wings like thine are upward spread to fly; 

But ah ! my brother, would upon the earth, 
Hearts good and true might beat eternally ! 

Though long from Life's idolatry thine own 

Hath doubtless turned, — serene e'en to the last, 

Oh be it kept, — to yield its joyous tone 
And feel that care dwells only in the past — 

To feel no aching void — no mortal fears — 

To feel no hankering after faded joy. 
To feel while piercing thro' earth's mist of tears 

" Thou 'rt nearer Heaven now, than when a boy ! '* 



238 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



The very neighbours (in London, where next-door 
neighbours are almost sure to be strangers) were kind 
and interested, one gentleman sending in his coachman 
almost daily to lift the poor invalid to his easy chair ; 
and others knocking on the wall, on hearing any unusual 
disturbance at night, to offer help. One lady sent violets 
from the country, to place by his bedside, hearing he 
loved the perfume of these little flowers. All these 
kind offices touched his grateful heart most deeply, at 
times almost to tears ; and if these pages should ever 
come before any of those who performed them, it may 
be some little pleasure to know the soothing consolation 
and pleasure they afforded the dying man, and the grati- 
tude his children will never cease to feel toward them. 
About this time he directed a number of proofs of the 
engraving from the bust to be struck off on separate 
sheets. This was the same engraving that now forms 
the frontispiece to the volume of serious " Poems." 

There are two published portraits of my father — both 
possessing peculiar characteristics, and both excellent in 
their style. The original oil painting from which the 
engraving that accompanies the volume of "Hood's 
Own," was taken was an admirable likeness, the expres- 

And all the seeds we 've gathered as they fell, 
Rich from thy ripen'd thought, a goodly store, 

If thou must go, shall burst afresh to tell 
How pure the soul the precious gift that bore ! 

Poor comfort still for honest gi-ief to cherish ! 

Poor bliss which memory alone supplies ! 
Thank God ! — our good affections never perish — 

Though in this world of woe the good man dies ! 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



239 



sion being most happily caught, and perhaps, from tlie 
dress and famihar attitude, giving the best general idea 
of him. At the same time, although of necessity in 
sculpture the eloquence of the eyes is wanting, the bust 
itself, and the engraving from it, bear a fine and remark- 
able resemblance to the original. It renders very fmth- 
fully the calm repose, almost amounting to solemnity, 
which characterised his face during the latter part of his 
life, and at that short period after death especially, which 
is so well known to exhibit an unearthly beauty often 
wanting in life. 

The proofs of this last mentioned engraving, with a few 
kind words inscribed, and a signature, were his dying 
legacy to those who knew and loved him. The number 
reached upwards of a hundred, and the names and 
inscriptions were written at intervals as he found strength 
to sit up in bed. The clear, delicate writing bore, even 
then, but little trace of weakness. 

His presence of mind was remarkable ; as his was, I 
think, naturally, and eventually from illness, a nervous 
nature. One night I was sitting up with him, my 
mother having gone to rest for a few hours, worn out 
with fatigue. He was seized, about twelve o'clock, with 
one of his alarming attacks of hemorrhage from the lungs. 
When it had momentarily ceased, he motioned for paper 
and pencil, and asked ' if I was too frightened to stay 
with him.' I was too used to it now, and on my reply- 
ing " No," he quietly and calmly wrote his wishes and 
directions on a slip of paper, as deliberately as if it were 
an ordinary matter. He forbade me to disturb my 
mother. When the doctor came, and ordered ice to be 



240 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



applied, my father wrote to remind me of a pond close 
by, where ice could be procured, nor did he forget to add 
a hint for refreshments to be prepared for the surgeon, 
who was to wait some hours to watch the case. This 
was in the midst of a very sudden and dangerous attack, 
that was, at the time, almost supposed to be his last. 

No words can describe his patience and resignation 
amidst all the fierce sufferings of the last month or two of 
his dying, as he said himself, " inch by inch." In the in- 
tervals between the terrible agonies that racked that ex- 
hausted frame, he talked quite calmly to us all of our 
future plans, and of what he wished to be done. At times 
we were obliged to leave him, to try and check the emo- 
tions that overpowered us. With such an example before 
us, we were obliged to keep brave hearts and cheerful 
countenances : it was a difficult task, but the beloved suf- 
ferer was the first to exhort and console us. My dear 
mother bore up with all the strength of a true woman's 
devotion, and with a calmness that, after the necessity 
for control was over, re-acted fatally on her worn-out 
frame. 

It was a lovely spring, and my father loved to see and 
feel all he could of it, drinking in his last measure of 
sunshine and fresh air more eagerly than he used to do. 
He always loved all nature like a child, and, I think, pos- 
sessed to the full that rare faculty of enjoyment which 
even a clear day or a beautiful flower can bring to a finely 
sensitive mind, which, if it suffers keenly, enjoys keenly 
as well. He said once to us, " It 's a beautiful world, and 
since I have been lying here, I have thought of it more 
and more ; it is not so bad, even humanly speaking, as 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



241 



people would make it out. I have had some very happy- 
days while I lived in it, and I could have wished to stay 
a little longer. But it is all for the best, and we shall all 
meet in a better world ! " 

Now, indeed, might all those who cavilled at his cheer- 
ful wit and genial philosophy (never directed against 
what was really high or holy) have taken a lesson how 
to die ! Now, indeed, might they have seen how a great 
and good spirit, that had for many years daily battled with 
disease and privation, could, in the very prime of its mental 
power, calmly and solemnly lay down its burthen and its 
toil. Those who doubted his religious belief, and were 
almost ready to say to him, like the lady he speaks of in 
his " Literary Reminiscences," " Mr. Hood, are you an 
Infidel ? " must then have felt the force of that practical 
faith and Christianity which could trust itself so readily 
and undoubtingly to the mercy of that great Creator, 
Whose visible handwriting in His creation he had known 
and loved so well. 

Moreover, to prove that this was no mere " death-bed " 
feeling, but the close of a consistent human life, if more 
testimony is wanting than his works for the good of man- 
kind (of which he could truthfully say, on that death-bed, 
that he " never regretted a line ") — if, I repeat, further 
evidence is necessary to refute some unreasonable and 
groundless doubts that have rested on his memory, I will 
add one more proof. 

As a little child, my first prayer was learnt from my 
father's lips, and repeated at his knee ; my first introduc- 
tion to the Bible, which he honoured too much to make a 
task-book, was from spelling out the words of the first 

VOIi. IT. 1.1 p 



242 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



chapter of the Sermon on the Mount as it lay open on 
his study table ; * my earliest lessons of the love and 
beauty, hid in every created thing, were from the stores 
of his observant mind ; and my deepest and holiest teach- 
ings, too sacred for more than a mere allusion, were given 
often in the dead of the night, when I was sitting up, some- 
times alone, by my father's dying bed. These are strong 
words and facts, but they are called forth, not unneces- 
sarily, by the impression that exists, not in one instance, 
but in twenty, as to my father's disbelief and scepticism, 
a doubt that will now be surely set at rest for ever, by 
the simple and unvarnished truth of those who knew him 
longest and best. True, he warred against the professedly 
religious (when they assumed the mere garb of piety, 
instead of charity, " to cover a multitude of sins,") be- 
cause anything false or hypocritical jarred, like a dis- 
cordant note, on his sense of right. But his voice was 
always uplifted in the cause of the poor and needy, and, 
when, as we are told by words that cannot deceive, " the 
merciful shall inherit a blessing," his earthly errors and 

* Tliis was a large copy of the Bible, in which, as in a correspond- 
ing Prayer Book, are written the words: — 

" Jane Hood, 

" The Gift of her Husband 
"1830. "Thomas Hood." 

In the Bible are inscribed, in accordance with the beautiful old 
custom, which if viewed in a right spirit has nothing irreverent in it, 
the date of my father and mother's marriage, and the births and bap- 
tisms of their children. People in those days thought it no sin to 
chronicle these, the most important events of their lives, in " The 
liook" which o«^^< to be their daily help on their earthly path, as 
well as their guide to one immortal. — F. F. B. 



MEMOKIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



243 



failings shall receive that mercy he never failed to sho^v 
to others. 

In the number of the Magazine which appeared on the 
1st of April, the following notice was inserted. 

THOMAS HOOD. 

" It is with a heavy and an aching heart that we darken 
these pages, that have so often reflected the brilliant wit of 
our beloved Editor, and the calmer lustre of his serious 
thoughts, with the sad tidings of his approaching death ; 
a death long feared by his friends, long even distinctly 
foreseen, but not till now so rapidly approaching as to 
preclude all hope. His sufferings which, have lately 
undergone a terrible increase, have been throughout 
sustained with manly fortitude and Christian resigna- 
tion. He is perfectly aware of his condition ; and we 
have no longer any reason, or any right, to speak ambigu- 
ously of a now too certain loss, the loss of a Great Writer 
— great in the splendour of his copious imagery, in his 
rare faculty of terse incisive language, in his power and 
pregnancy of thought, and in his almost Shakespearian 
versatility of genius, — great in the few, but noble works 
he leaves behind, greater still, perhaps, in those he will 
carry unwritten to his early tomb. It is this indeed, 
which principally afflicts him : the Man is content to die, 
he has taken leave of his friends, and forgiven his ene- 
mies (if any such he have), and ' turned his face to the 
wall ; ' but the Poet still longs for a short reprieve, still 
watches to snatch one last hour for his art ; and will per- 
haps even yet, once more, floating towards the deep 
waters of eternity, pour out his soul in song. 



244 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



" In any case, this, the last number of his Magazine that 
he may live to see, shall not go forth without some impress 
of the Master's hand, some parting rays of the flame 
now flickering low in the socket. We have chosen for 
this purpose the beautiM conclusion of his ' Ode to 
Melancholy,' which those who know it will delight to 
read again, while for others it may help to solve the 
enigma of his many-sided genius, to account for the under- 
current of humour that often tinctured his gravest 
productions, and to justify the latent touch of sadness 
that was apt to mingle in his most sportive sallies. Truly 
indeed, for the Poet's earnest heart, 

* All things are touched with Melancholy, 
Born of the secret soul's mistrust 
To feel her fair ethereal wings 
Weighed down with vile degraded dust ; 
Even the bright extremes of joy 
Bring on conclusions of disgust, 
Like the sweet blossoms of the May, 
Whose fragrance ends in must. 
Oh give her then her tribute just, 
Her sighs and tears and musings holy ! 
There is no music in the Hfe 
That sounds with idiot laughter solely ; 
There 's not a string attuned to Mirth, 
But has its chord in Melancholy.' 

" ' Ode to Melancholy,' 1827." 

From this time my father's suflerings increased daily ; 
dropsy, from sheer weakness, having supervened on his 
already too numerous diseases. Days of exhaustion 
succeeded nights of agony and sleeplessness, till it seemed 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



245 



marvellous that the attenuated frame could hold out. 
The trial was the greater for that there were no alternate 
clouds of hope and fear, to relieve by their very change : 
all was one dark leaden hue of utter hopelessness. 

My dear father was, at times during his illness, deliri- 
ous with pain ; his mind was ordinarily quiet and tran- 
quil, and these times seemed, like transient mists, though 
hiding for a time, to clear off effectually at last. We 
shall never forget one night, when his mind was wander- 
ing in this way, his repeating Burns' lovely words, 

" I 'm fading awa', Jean,* 
Like show wreaths in thaw, Jean ! 
I'm fading awa' — 

To the land o' the leal ! 

" But weep na, my ain Jean, — 
The world's care 's in vain, Jean, 
We '11 meet and aye be fain 
In the land of the leal ! " 

No one could listen to this without tears, coming from 
the frail feeble form that was fading so fast, and uttered 
with a touching tone, to which the temporary wandering 
of that strong mind gave additional pathos. 

These occasional obscurings, however, took place but 
seldom, and towards the last his mind was as clear and 
collected as in his best days. 

May was an eventful month to him. He was born on 
the 23rd of May, 1799 ; married on the 5th of May, 
1824 ; on the 1st of May, 1845 — May-day — he was last 

* It will be observed that my mother's name was Jane. — T. H. 



246 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



conscious; on the 3rd, he died ; and on the 10th he was 
buried. On the Thursday evening, May 1st, he seemed 
worse ; and knowing himself to be dying, he called us 
round him — my mother, my little brother, just ten years 
old, and myself. He gave us his last blessing, tenderly 
and fondly ; and then quietly clasping my mother's hand, 
he said, " Remember, Jane, I forgive all, all as I hope to 
be forgiven ! " He lay for some time calmly and peace- 
fully, but breathing slowly and with difficulty. My 
mother bending over him heard him say faintly, " O 
Lord ! say, ' Arise, take up thy cross, and follow me ! "* 
His last words were, " Dying, dying ! " as if glad to real- 
ise the rest implied in them. He then sank into what 
seemed a deep slumber. This torpor lasted all Friday ; 
and on Saturday at noon, he breathed his last, without a 
struggle or a sigh. 

By my dear father's own especial desire and injunc- 
tion, a post-mortem examination was made, which proved 
the correctness of his physician's theory of the case. At 
first there was some idea that he should be buried in 
Poets' Corner,* Westminster Abbey ; but this notion was 
speedily abandoned, and the first and wisest plan carried 
out of laying him in Kensal Green Cemetery. His fu- 
neral was private and quiet, though attended by many who 
had known and loved him. Sir Robert Peel would have 

* This arose from the mistaken notion that England's Abbey was 
intended as the last resting-place of her men of genius, and not, as is 
the case, for any one who is willing to pay about £ 200 in fees. Is it 
not a grand thought, surpassing Addison's solemn meditations, that 
any humble, nameless, titleless, unknown man, may elbow Chaucer, 
Spenser, Dryden, Jonson, and Prior in Poets' Corner — always pro- 
vided, he have £ 200 or so to pay his way with ! — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 247 



attended, but was prevented by stress of public business. 
My dear father's nearest and dearest friends, including 
Dr. Elliot, Dr. Robert Elliot, Mr. Ward, and several 
others, and his little son,* followed him to the grave 
as mourners. 

Eighteen months afterwards, his faithful and devoted 
wife was buried by his side. A painful disease, origi- 
nally induced by the great anxiety and fatigue of nurs- 
ing him through his long illness, was accelerated by his 
loss. The husband and wife, who, during their troubled 
and sorrowful lives, had never, since their marriage, 
been so long divided before, were soon re-united. 

I only really felt the peculiar fitness of the choice of 
his last resting-place in its fullest force, when, two years 
ago, I visited the grave, now covered by the noble monu- 
ment erected by public subscription. It was a lovely 
morning, just watered by a few fitful showers — the 
relics of April — which a May sunshine was now light- 
ing up. The pink and white petals of the chestnut 
blossoms strewed the path, and the scent of the lilacs 
filled the air with fragrance. The whole aspect of the 
place was beautiful enough, and though a " City of 
Tombs," it had its own peculiar charm in those small 
silent flower-plots, looking like children's gardens, but 
where no children have ever played. Under the open 
sky, whether in sunshine or storm, with green turf and 

* I have a perfect recollection of the funeral, and of the unfeigned 
son-ow of those kind and beloved friends who attended it. It was a 
beautiful Spring day, and, I remember, it was noticed that, just as the 
service concluded, a lark rose up, mounting and singing over our 
heads. This was in the middle of the day. — T. H. 



248 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



riowers around, was where, we felt, — could he have 
chosen, — he would have wished his last resting-place 
to be. 

And now our task is finished ; how painful it has been 
only those know who have undertaken one similar. We 
feel how inadequate all our efforts have been to render 
this fragmentary chronicle worthy of our beloved father. 
It is, at best, but a faint shadow of what he was, as he 
lives in oui* memories, and wanting in the light and col- 
our, which would make it interesting to the general 
reader. But we have humbly tried to do our best with 
the scanty materials at our disposal. In all cases, the 
blame of any shortcoming may rest very justly upon us, 
but we shall have erred through ignorance. It has been 
our most solemn and earnest endeavour, that, if in these 
Memorials we could add but little to shed fresh lustre on 
that honoured memory, equally, at least, nothing shall have 
been inserted that can for a moment tarnish it, or hurt 
any one living. It is, if only thus far, a fulfilment of 
what would have been the wish of his loving and gentle 
spirit. 

The following was written by my father in the Febru- 
ary preceding his death, and directed to Dr. Elliot, the 
envelope bearing these words also — 

MY LAST ARRANGEMENTS. 

Devonshire Lodge, New Finchley Eoad, St. John's Wood, 

February 7, 1845. 

It is my last will and desire that " Nash's Halls " be 
given, in my name, to my dear William and Georgiana 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



249 



Elliot, in recognition of their brotherly and sisterly affec- 
tion and kindness. 

My " Knight's Shakspere," for a like reason, to dear 
Robert Elliot. 

Chaucer, or Froissart, as he may prefer, to T. Reseigh. 

Ward, Harvey, Phillips, and Hardman, to select a 
book a-piece for remembrance. 

" Nimrod's Sporting " to Philip de Franck. 

All else that I possess, I give and bequeath to my dear 
wife, to be used for her benefit and that of our dear chil- 
dren, whom God bless, guide, and preserve. 




250 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



CHAPTER YIII. 

Public Subscription for the erection of a Monument. — Inaugurated 
July, 1854. — Oration by Mr. Monckton Milnes. 

IN the September or October of 1852, what the chil- 
dren of Thomas Hood had long planned to do in a 
modest and unpretending manner, was undertaken by the 
public. Some sweet lines, by Miss Eliza Cook, drew 
attention to the fact that no tombstone marked the Poet's 
grave. A public subscription was suggested to her in 
numerous letters, and after a time, a Committee was 
formed, consisting principally of Members of the Whit- 
tington Club. This committee exerted itself strenuously 
— Mr. Murdo Young taking a most active part, — and 
before long the lists began to fill. Noblemen, Members 
of Parliament, men of letters, old friends and acquaint- 
ances, gave their aid ; and the people, as has been before 
mentioned, added their shillings and pence. The Honor- 
ary Secretary, Mr. John Watkins (the noted artist and 
photographer of Parliament Street), to whose energy in 
the matter very much was due, has kindly afforded me 
all assistance requisite for this Chapter, in the shape of 
notices and letters collected by him at the time. I regret 
much that the length to which the Memorials have ex- 
tended will not permit quotations from the letters of the 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



251 



late Lord Macaulay, the late Lady Morgan, Barry Corn- 
wall, Dr. Mackay, Mr. Macready, and other distinguished 
names. The late Mr. Thomas De Quincey, and the late 
Miss Mitford, old friends of my father's, wrote most 
touching notes, and the late Duke of Devonshire enclosed 
a donation worthy of his generosity, in a letter marked 
with the greatest feeling and kindness. 

Mr. Longfellow also wrote, saying at the close of his 
letter : " Poor Mrs. Hood and the children, who have 
lost him ! They will have forgotten the stranger, who 
called, one October morning, with Dickens, and was hos- 
pitably entertained by them. But I remember the visit, 
and the pale face of the poet, and the house in St. John's 
Wood." 

My mother had been dead, as has been described, 
many years before this was written, but the children of 
Thomas Hood had not forgotten, nor will they ever for- 
get, the visit of one, in whom their father had taught 
them to admire a poet of sympathies akin to his own. 

At the commencement of 1853, the subscriptions had 
swelled to a considerable amount, having been increased 
by the proceeds of " An Evening with Hood," (an enter- 
tainment suggested by -the well known George Gros- 
smith) and other lectures of a similar description. 

It was now determined to apply to the sculptors for a 
design. On this point no more need be said than that 
the choice of the Committee fell on Mr. Matthew Noble, 
— a decision which the verdict of the country has since 
endorsed, on more than one occasion, and which a visit 
to the monument cannot fail to ratify. 

On the 18th of July, 1854, the completed monument 



252 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



was unveiled, at Kensal Green, in the presence of a 
number of friends and admirers of the dead Poet. An 




Bas-relief, " The Soxg of the Siiikt," from the Monument 
by 11. Noble, in Kensal Green. 

oration, describing the origin of the Memorial, and the 
history of hira whom it celebrated, was made by Mr. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



253 



Monckton Milnes, whose kindly offices and sympathy had 
done much to alleviate the anxieties of the close of my 




Bas-relief, " Eugexe Akam," from the Monument 
by M. Noble, in Kensal Green. 

father's life, and who took the greatest interest in every- 
thing connected with the monument. Although funeral 



254 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



orations are not usual in England, the management of 
the ceremony was faultless, and the address in excellent 
taste, its pathos exciting deep emotion in those who 
heard it. 

Six years have now elapsed since the monument was 
erected, and from that time it has been frequently visited 
by the Poet's friends and admirers ; and it is a sincere 
pleasure and high honour to his children to think they 
are so numerous. 

He was, indeed, (to quote the words of a periodical 
speaking of the inauguration of the monument) one " of 
gentle heart, and open hand ! Foe to none but the bigot, 
the pedant, and the quack ! Friend to the suffering, to 
the careworn, and the needy ; to the victims of a cruel 
greed, to all that are desolate and oppressed, — Hood, 
the generous, kind, and true ! " 

There remains but one more task to perform,* — less 
a task than a pleasure. It is to thank those who have, 
in various ways, — either by the loan of letters, the gift 
of memoranda, or otherwise, assisted in the compilation 
of these volumes. Many, alas, are not alive to re- 
ceive our acknowledgments ; and indeed it is melancholy 

* Although not immediately connected with the subject of these 
^Memorials, we must not pass unnoticed the generous subscription en- 
tered into shortly after our father's death for the support of his widow 
and orphan children. Nor would it seem gracious to omit mention 
that in 1847, after our mother's death, the pension, originally granted 
to her by Sir Robert Peel, was revived in our favour by the kindness 
of Lord John Russell, as soon as it was suggested to him by some con- 
siderate friends. For both these instances of the generosity and kind- 
ly feeling we have had extended to us for our father's sake, we return 
our earnest thanks. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



255 



to notice how many of them — of my father's friends, 
and even of those who contributed to his monument — 
have since died ! Some, however, still survive to accept 
our thanks. Without their help, the children of Thomas 
Hood would not have been enabled to give to the people 
these Memorials, for the shortcomings of which they 
would ask pardon, and gentle consideration, while they 
claim credit for the best intentions, and the best exertions, 
which lay in their power. 

To His Grace the Duke of Devonshire, the Hon. F. 
Leveson Gower, to Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanhope, and 
the Right Hon. E. Cardwell, to Sir Rowland Hill, Mr. 
Dickens, Mr. Dilke, Messrs. Taylor and Hessey, Dr. 
Elliot, Captain De Franck, and Mr. John Watkins, and 
to others, whose names it were too long to enumerate, the 
most sincere and grateful thanks are tendered by the 
children of Thomas Hood, 

Frances Freeling Broderip 
and 

Thomas Hood. 




256 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



.LITERARY REMAINS. 



The following were the papers contributed by my 
father to " Hood's Magazine " — 

The Haunted House. 
A Tale of Temper. 

Mrs. Burrage; A Temperance Romance. 

Review of " Life in a Sick Room." 

Review of " A Christmas CaroL" By Charles Dickens. 

An Irish Rebellion. 

Epigi-am. 

A Song for the Million. 

The Regular and the Irregular Drama. 

Skipping. A Mystery. 

A Discovery in Astronomy. 

Real Random Records. 

A New Berry. 

A Dream by the Fire. 

The Mary; A Seaside Sketch. 

The Lady's Dream. 

Kature and Art. 

Review of " Fifty Days on board a Slaver." 

The House of Mourning. 

Magnetic Musings. 

The Key. A Moorish Romance. 

The Masonic Secret. An Extravaganza. 

Epigram. 

Anecdote of Her present Majesty. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



257 



The Captain's Cow. A Nautical Romance. 

The Workhouse Clock. 

Review of a "New Spirit of the Age." 

The Bridge of Sighs. 

The Monster Telescope.* 

Anecdote of H. R. H. Prince Albert. 

An Explanation. By One of the Livery. 

Our Family Chaps. L to XXHL 

Etched Thoughts. A Review. 

Epigram on a certain Equestrian Statue. 

Epigram. 

The Lay of the Labourer. 

Epigram on Her Majesty's Visit to the City. 

Sonnet to a Sonnet. 

Epigram on the Queen's Visit to the City. 
Mrs. Peck's Pudding. A Christmas Romance. 
The Lark and the Rook. 
Epigram. 

The Sausage lilaker's Ghost. 
Suggestions by Steam. 
Anacreontic. By a Footman. 
A Letter from the Cape. 

Review of " The Chimes." By Charles Dickens. 

Domestic Mesmerism. 

Stanzas. 

The Surplice Question. 

A Note from my Note Book . 

Epigram. 

Besides these, were numerous cuts, and many 
Echoes," one of the latter (at the end of the third 
number) containing a very humorous letter. 

* This was a fictitious description of the wonders revealed by Lord 
Rosse's tube, so waisemblable as to deceive one of my father's friends, 
who was most wroth when the hoax was revealed to him. — T. H. 



258 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



COPYRIGHT AND COPYWRONG. 

TO THE EDITOR OF THE ATHEN^UM. 

LETTER L 

My dear Sir, 

I have read with much satisfaction the occasional ex- 
posures in your journal of the glorious uncertainty of the 
Law of Copyright, and your repeated calls for its re- 
vision. It is high time indeed that some better system 
should be established ; and I cannot but regret that the 
legislature of our own country which patronises the great 
cause of liberty all over the world, has not taken the lead 
in protecting the common rights of literature. We have 
a national interest in each ; and their lots ought not to 
be cast asunder. 

The French, Prussian, and American governments, 
however, have already got the start of us, and are con- 
certing measures for suppressing these piracies, which 
have become, like the influenza, so alarmingly prevalent? 

It would appear from the facts established, that an 
English book merely transpires in London ; but is pub- 
lished in Paris, Brussels, or New York. 

" 'T is but to sail, and with to-morrow's sun, 
The pupates will be hound." 

Mr. Bulwer tells us of a literary gentleman, who felt 
himself under the necessity of occasionally going abroad 
to preserve his self-respect ; and with some change, an 



aiEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



259 



author will be equally obliged to repair to another coun- 
try to enjoy his circulation. 

As to the American reprints, I can personally corrob- 
orate your assertion, that heretofore a trans-atlantic 
bookseller " has taken 500 copies of a single work," 
whereas he now orders none, or merely a solitary one to 
set up from. This, I hope, is a matter as important as 
the little question of etiquette, which, according to Mr. 
Cooper, the fifty millions will have to adjust. 

Before, however, any international arrangements be 
entered into, it seems only consistent with common sense 
that we should begin at home, and first establish what 
copyright is in Britain, and provide for its protection 
from native pirates or book-aneevs. I have learned there- 
fore with pleasure that the state of the law is to be 
brought under the notice of Parliament by Mr. Serjeant 
Talfourd, who from his legal experience and literary 
tastes is so well qualified for the task. The grievances 
of authors have neither been loudly nor often urged on 
Lords and Commons; but their claims have long been 
lying on the library table, if not on the table of the 
House, and methinks their wrongs have only to be prop- 
erly stated to obtain redress. I augur for them, at least, 
a good hearing, for such seldom and low-toned appeals 
ought to find their way to organs " as deaf to clamour " 
as the old citizen of Cheapside, who said that " the more 
noise there was in the street, the more he did n't hear it." 
In the meantime as an author myself, as well as a pro- 
prietor of copyrights in " a small way," I make bold to 
offer my own feelings and opinions on the subject, with 
some illustrations from what, although not a decidedly 



260 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



serious writer, I will call ' my experiences.' And 
here I may appropriately plead an apology for taking 
on myself the cause of a fraternity of which I am so 
humble a member ; but in truth, this very position, which 
forbids vanity on my own account, favours my pride on 
that of others, and thus enables me to speak more becom- 
ingly of the deserts of my brethren and the dignity of 
the craft. Like P. P. the clerk of the Parish, who, with 
a proper reverence for his calling, confessed an elevation 
of mind in only considering himself as a shred of the 
linen vestment of Aaron, 1 own to an inward exultation 
at being but a Precentor, as it were, in that worship 
which numbers Shakespeare and Milton among its priests. 
Moreover now that the rank of authors, and the nature, 
and value, of literary property are about to be discussed, 
and I hope established for ever, it becomes the duty of 
every Literary Man, as much as of a Peer, when his 
order is in question, to assert his station, and to stand up 
manfully for the rights, honours, and privileges of the 
profession to which he belongs. The question is not a 
mere sordid one, it is not a simple inquiry, in what Avay 
the emoluments of literature may be best secured to the 
author or proprietors of a work ; on the contrary it 
involves a principle of grave importance, not only to lit- 
erary men, but to those who love letters, and I will 
presume to say to society at large. 

It has a moral as well as a commercial bearing ; for 
the legislature will not only have to decide directly by a 
formal act, whether the Literary Literest is worthy of a 
place beside the Shipping Interest, the Funded Interest, 
the Manufacturing and other public Interests, but also it 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 261 



will have indirectly to determine whether literary men 
belong to the privileged class ; the higher, lower, or mid- 
dle class, — the working class, — productive or unpro- 
ductive class, or in short, to any class at all.* " Literary 
men," says Mr. Bulwer, " have not, with us, any fixed 
and settled position as men of letters." We have, like 
Mr. Cooper's American lady, no precedence. 

We are, in fact, nobodies. Our place, in turf language, 
is " nowhere." Like certain birds and beasts of difficult 
classification, — we go without any at all. We have no 
more Caste than the Pariahs. We are on a par, accord- 
ing as we are scientific, theologic, imaginative, dramatic, 
poetic, historic, instructive, or amusing, — with quack 
doctors, street preachers, strollers, ballad-singers, hawkers 
of last dying speeches, Punch and Judies, conjurers, 
tumblers, and other " divarting vagabonds." We are as 
the Jews in the east, the Africans in the west, or the 
Gipsies anywhere. We belong to those, to whom nothing 
can belong. I have even misgivings, — Heaven help 
us, — if an author have a Parish ! 

I have serious doubts if a work be a qualification for 
the workhouse ! The law, apparently, cannot forget or 
forgive, that Homer was a vagrant, Shakespeare a deer- 
stealer, and Milton a rebel. Our very " cracks " tell 
against us in the statute, — Poor Stoneblind, Bill the 
Poacher, and Radical Jack have been the ruin of our 
gang. We have neither character to lose nor property 
to protect. We are, by law, outlaws, — undeserving of 
civil rights. We may be robbed, libelled, outraged with 

At a guess, I should say we were classed, in opposition to a cer- 
tain political sect, as Inutilitaiians. 



262 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



impunity : being at the same time liable for such offences, 
to all the rigour of the code. 

I will not adduce, as I could do, a long catalogue of 
the victims of this system, which seems to have been 
drawn up by the " Lord of Misrule," and sanctioned by 
the " Abbot of Unreason." I will select, as Sterne took 
his captive, a single author. To add to the parallel, 
behold him in a prison! He is sentenced to remain 
there during the monarch's pleasure, to stand three times 
in the pillory, and to be amerced besides in the heavy 
sum of two hundred marks. The sufferer of this three- 
fold punishment is one rather deserving of a triple crown, 
as a man, as an author, and as an example of that rare 
commercial integrity which does not feel discharged of its 
debts, though creditors have accepted a composition, till 
it has paid them in full. It is a literary offence, — a libel 
or presumed libel, which has incurred the severity of the 
law ; but the same power that oppresses him refuses or 
neglects to support him in the protection of his literary 
character and his literary rights. His just fame is 
depreciated by public slanderers, and his honest, honour- 
able earnings are forestalled by pirates. 

Of one of his performances no less than twelve sur- 
reptitious editions are printed and 80,000 copies are 
disposed of at a cheap rate in the streets of London. I 
am writing no fiction, though of one of Fiction's greatest 
masters. That captive is, — for he can never die, — 
that captive author is Scott's, Johnson's, Blair's, Mar- 
montel's. Lamb's, Chalmers's, Beattie's, — good witnesses 
to character these ! — every Englishman's, Britain's, 
America's, Germany's, France's, Spain's, Italy's, Arabia's, 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



263 



— all the world's Daniel De Foe! Since the age of the 
author of " Robinson Crusoe," the law has doubtless 
altered in complexion, but not in character, towards his 
race. It no longer pillories an author who writes to the 
distaste — or, like poor Daniel, above the comprehension 

— of the powers that be, because it no longer pillories 
any one, — but the imprisonment and the fines remain in 
force. The title of a book is, in legal phrase, the worst 
title there is. 

Literary property is the lowest in the market. It is 
declared by the law only so many years' purchase, after 
which the private right becomes common ; and in the 
meantime the estate, being notoriously infested with 
poachers, is as remarkably unprotected by game laws. 
An author's winged thoughts, though laid, hatched, bred, 
and fed within his own domain, are less his property, 
than is the bird of passage that of the lord of the manor, 
on whose soil it may happen to alight. An author can- 
not employ an armed keeper to protect his preserves ; he 
cannot apply to a pinder to arrest the animals that tres- 
pass on his grounds ; nay, he cannot even call in a com- 
mon constable to protect his purse on the king's highway ! 
I have had thoughts myself of seeking the aid of a po- 
liceman, but counsel, learned in the law, have dissuaded 
me from such a course ; there was no way of defending 
myself from the petty thief but by picking my own 
pocket ! Thus I have been compelled to see my own 
name attached to catch-penny works, none of mine, 
hawked about by placard-men in the street — I, who 
detest the puffing system, have apparently been guilty of 
the gross forwardness of walking the pavement by proxy 



264 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



for admirers, like the clog Bashaw ! I have been made, 
nominally, to plj at stage-coach windows with my wares, 
like Isaac Jacobs with his cheap pencils, and Jacob 
Isaacs, with his cheap pen-knives to cut them with : — 
and without redress. For whether I had placed myself 
in the hands of the law, or taken the law in mine own 
hands — as any bumpkin in a barn knows — there is 
nothing to be thrashed out of a man of straw. Now, 
with all humility, if my poor name be any recommenda- 
tion of a book, I conceive I am entitled to reserve it for 
my own benefit. What says the proverb ? " When your 
name is up you may lie a-bed." But what says the law ? 
— at least if the owner of the name be an author. Why, 
that anyone may steal his bed from under him, and sell 
it ; that is to say, his reputation, and the revenue which 
it may bring. 

In the meantime, for any street frauds there is a sum- 
mary process : the vendor of a flash watch, or a razor 
made to sell, though he appropriates no maker's name, is 
seized without any ceremony by A 1, carried before B 2, 
and committed to C 3, as regularly as a child goes through 
its alphabet and numeration. They have defrauded the 
public, forsooth, and the public has its prompt remedy ; 
but for the literary man, thus doubly robbed, of his money 
and his reputation, what is his redress but by injunction, 
or action, against walking shadows? — a truly homceo- 
pathic remedy, which pretends to cure by aggravating 
the disease. 

I have thus shown how an author may be robbed ; for 
if the works thus offered at an unusually low price be 
genuine, they must have been dishonestly obtained, — the 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



2G5 



brooms were stolen ready-made ; if, on the contrary, they 
be counterfeit, I apprehend there will be little dilFiculty 
in showing how an author may be practically libelled with 
impunity. For anything I know, the peripatetic philoso- 
phy, ascribed to me by the above itinerants, might be heret- 
ical, damnable, libellous, vicious, or obscene ; whilst for 
anything they know to the contrary, the purchasers must 
have held me responsible for the contents of the volumes, 
which went abroad so very publicly under my name. I 
know, indeed, that parties, thus deceived, have expressed 
their regret and astonishment, that I could be guilty of 
such prose, verse, and worse, as they have met with un- 
der my signature. I believe I may cite the well-known 
Mr. George Robins, as a purchaser of one of the coun- 
terfeits ; and if he, perhaps, eventually knocked me down 
as a street-preacher of infidelity, sedition, or immorality, 
it was neither his fault nor mine. 

I may here refer, en passant, — for illustrations are 
plenty as blackberries, — to a former correspondence in 
the " Athenaeum," in which I had, in common with Mr. 
Poole and the late Mr. Colman, to disclaim any connec- 
tion with a periodical in which I was advertised as a con- 
tributor. There was more recently, and probably still is, 
one Marshall, of Holborn-bars, who publicly claims me 
as a writer in his pay, with as much right to the imprint 
of my name, as a print-collector has to the engravings in 
another man's portfolio: but against this man I have 
taken no rash steps, otherwise called legal, knowing that 
I might as w^ell appeal to Martial law, versus Marshall, 
as to any other. 

As a somewhat whimsical case, I may add the follow- 

VOL. u. 12 



266 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



ing. Mr. Chappell, the music-seller, agreed to give me 
a liberal sum for the use of any ballad I may publish : 
and another party, well known in the same line, applied 
to me for a formal permission to publish a little song of 
mine which a lady had done me the honour of setting to 
an original melody. Here seemed to be a natural recog- 
nition of copyright, and the moral sense of justice stand- 
ing instead of law. But in the meantime, a foreign 

composer — I forget his name, but it was set in G , 

took a fancy to some of my verses, and without the semi- 
quaver of a right, or the demi-semiquaver of an apology, 
converted them to his own use. I remonstrated of 
course ; and the reply, based on the assurance of impu- 
nity, not only admitted the fact, but informed me that 
Monsieur, not finding my lines agree with his score, had 
taken the liberty of altering them at any risk. Now I 
would confidently appeal to the highest poets of the land, 
whether they do not feel it quite responsibility enough to 
be accountable for their own lays in the mother tongue ; 
but to be answerable also for the attempts in English 
verse by a foreigner — and, above all, a Frenchman — is 
really too much of a bad thing ! 

Would it not be too much to request of the learned 
Serjeant, who has undertaken our cause, that he would 
lay these cases before Parliament ? Noble Lords and 
Honourable Gentlemen come down to their respective 
Houses, in a fever of nervous excitement, and shout of 
" Privilege ! privilege ! Breach of privilege ! " because 
their speeches have been erroneously reported or their 
meaning garbled in perhaps a single sentence ; but how 
would they relish to see whole speeches — nay pamphlets 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



207 



— they had never uttered or written, paraded, with their 
names, styles, and titles at full length, by those placard- 
ing walkers, who like fathers of lies, or rather mothers 
of them, carry one staring falsehood pick-a-back, and an- 
other at the bosom ? How would those gentlemen like 
to see extempore versions of their orations done in Eng- 
lish by a native of Paris, and published, as the pig ran, 
"down all sorts of streets?" Yet to similar nuisances 
are authors exposed without adequate means of abating 
them. It is often better, I am told, to abandon one's 
rights than to defend them at law — a sentence that will 
bear particular application to literary grievances. For 
instance, the law would have something to say to a man 
who claimed his neighbour's umbrella as his own parasol, 
because he had cut a bit off round the rim ; yet by some- 
thing of a similar process, the better part of a book may 
be appropriated : and this is so civil an offence, that any 
satisfaction at the law is only to be obtained by a very 
costly and doubtful course. There was even a piratical 
work which — to adopt Burke's paradoxical style — dis- 
ingenuously ingenuous and dishonestly honest, assumed 
the plain title of " The Thief," professing with the con- 
nivance of the law, to steal all its materials. How this 
thief died, I know not ; but as it was a literary thief, I 
would lay long odds that the law was not the finisher. 
These piracies are naturally most injurious to those au- 
thors whose works are of a fugitive nature, or on topics 
of temporary interest ; but there are writers of a more 
solid stamp, of a higher order of mind, or nobler ambi- 
tion, who devote themselves to the production of works 
of permanent value and utility. Such works often creep 



2G8 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



but slowly into circulation and repute, and then become 
classics for ever. And what encouragement and reward 
does the law hold forth to such contributors to our stand- 
ard national literature ? Why that after a certain lapse 
of years, coinciding probably with the term requisite to 
establish the sterling character of the work, or at least to 
establish its general recognition ; then — aye, just then, 
when the literary property is realised, when it becomes 
exchangeable against the precious metals, which are con- 
sidered by some political, and more practical, economists 
as the standard of value — the law decrees that then all 
right or interest in the book shall expire in the author, 
and by some strange process, akin to the Hindoo trans- 
migrations, revive in the great body of the booksellers. 
And here arises a curious question. After the copyright 
has so lapsed, suppose that some speculative publisher, 
himself an amateur writer, extenuate or aggravate his ar- 
guments — French-polish his style — Johnsonise his phra- 
seology — or even like Winifred Jenkins, wrap his own 
" bit of nonsense under his honour's kiver ; " is there any 
legal provision extant to which the injured party could 
appeal for redress of such an outrage on all that is left to 
him, his reputation ? I suspect there is none whatever. 
There is yet another singular result from this state of 
the law, which I beg leave to illustrate by my own 
case. 

If I may modestly appropriate a merit, it is that, what- 
ever faults I have, at least I have been a decent writer. 
In a species of composition, where, like the iffnis fatuus 
that guides into a bog, a ghmmer of the ludicrous is apt 
to lead the fancy into an indelicacy, I feel some honest 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 269 

pride in remembering that the reproach of impurity has 
never been cdst upon me by my judges. It has not been 
my delight to exhibit the Muse, as it has been tenderly 
called " high kilted " — I have had my gratification there- 
fore in seeing my little volumes placed in the hands of 
boys and girls, and as I have children of my own to, I 
hope, survive me, I have the inexpressible comfort of 
thinking that hereafter they will be able to cast their 
eyes over the pages inscribed with my name, without a 
burning blush on their young cheeks to reflect that the 
author was their father. So whispers Hope, with the 
dulcet voice and the golden hair; but what thunders 
Law, of the iron tone and the frizzled wig ? " Decent 
as thy Muse may now be — a delicate Ariel — she shall 
be indecent and indelicate hereafter! She shall class 
with the bats and the fowls obscene ! The slow reward 
of thy virtue shall be the same as the prompt punishment 
of vice — Thy copyright shall depart from thee, it shall 
be everybody's, and anybody's, and ' no man shall call it 
his own ! ' " 

Verily, if such be the proper rule of copyright, for the 
sake of consistency two very old copywriters should be 
altered to match, and run thus : — 

" Yu'tue is its own punishment." 
" Age commands disrespect." 

To return to the author whose fame is slow and sure to 
be — its own reward ; should he be dependent, as is often 
the case, on the black and white bread of literature ? 
should it be the profession by which he lives, it is evident 
that under such a system he must beg, run in debt, or 



270 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



starve. And many have been beggars — many have got 
into debt ; it is hardly possible to call up the ghost of a 
literary hero without the apparition of a catchpole at his 
elbow, for, like Jack the Giant-killer, our elder worthies, 
who had the Cap of Knowledge, found it equally conve- 
nient to be occasionally invisible, as well as to possess the 
Shoes of Swiftness, — and some have starved! Could 
the " Illustrious Dead " arise, after some Anniversary 
Dinner of the Literary Fund, and walk in procession 
round the table, like the resuscitated objects of the Royal 
Humane Society, what a melancholy exhibition they 
would make ! I will not marshal them forth in order, 
but leave the show to the imagination of the reader. I 
doubt whether the Illustrious Living would make a much 
brighter muster. Supposing a general summons, how 
many day-rules — how many incognitos from abroad — 
how many visits to Monmouth Street would be necessary 
to enable the Members to put in an appearance ! I fear. 
Heaven forgive me ! some of our nobles even would show 
only Three Golden Balls in their coronets ! If they do 
not actually starve or die by poison in this century, it is, 
perhaps, owing partly to the foundation of the Literary 
Fund, and partly to the invention of the stomach-pump. 
But the true abject state of literature may be gathered from 
the fact, that with a more accurate sense of the destitu- 
tion of the Professors than of the dignity of the Profes- 
sion, a proposal has lately been brought forward for the 
erection of almshouses for paupers of " learning and 
genius " who have fallen into the sere and yellow leaf, 
under the specious name of Literary Retreats ; or as a 
military man would technically and justly read such a 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



271 



record of our failures, Literary Defeats. Nor is this the 
climax : the proposal names half-a-dozen of these humble 
abodes to " make a beginning " with — a mere brick of 
the building — as if the projector, in his mind's eye, saw 
a whole Mile-End Road of one-storied tenements in the 
shell, stretching from number six, and " to be con- 
tinued." 

Visions of paupers, spare my aching sight, 
Ye unbuilt houses, crowd not on my soid ! 

I do hope, before we are put into yellow leather, very 
" small clothes," muffin caps, green baize coats, and badges, 
and made St. Minerva charity boys at once — for that 
must be the first step — that the legislature will interfere 
and endeavor to provide better for our sere and yellow 
leaves, by protecting our black and white ones. Let the 
law secure to us a fair chance of getting our own, and 
perhaps, with proper industry, we may be able — who 
knows ? — to build little snuggeries for ourselves. Under 
the present system the chances are decidedly against a 
literary man's even laying a good foundation of French 
bricks. 

To further illustrate the nature of a copyright, we 
will suppose that an author retains it, or publishes, as it 
is called, on his own account. He will then have to di- 
vide amongst the trade, in the shape of commission allow- 
ances, from 40 to 45 per cent, of the gross proceeds, 
leaving the stationer, printer, binder, advertising, and all 
other expenses to be paid out of the remainder. And 
here arises two important contingencies : — 1 . In order 
that the author may know the true number of the impres- 



272 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



sions, and consequently the correct amount of the sale, it 
is necessary the publisher should be honest. 2. For the 
author to duly receive his profits, his publisher must be 
solvent. I intend no disrespect to the trade in general 
by naming these conditions ; but I am bound to mention 
them, as risks adding to the insecurity of the property — 
as two hurdles which the rider of Pegasus may have to 
clear in his course to be a winner. 

If I felt inclined to reflect on the trade, it would be to 
censure those dishonest members of it, who set aside a 
principle, in which the interests of authors and booksell- 
ers are identical — the inviolability of copyright. I 
need not point out the notorious examples of direct piracy 
at home, which have made the foreign offences compara- 
tively venial ; nor yet those more oblique plagiarisms, 
and close parodies, which are alike hurtful in their de- 
gree. Of the evil of these latter practices I fear our 
bibliopoles are not sufficiently aware ; but that man de- 
serves to have his head published in foolscap, who does 
not see that, whatever temporary advantages a system of 
piracy may hold out, the consequent swamping of litera- 
ture will be ruinous to the trade, till eventually it may 
dwindle down to Four-and-Twenty Booksellers all in a 
Row, and all in " the old book line," pushing off back 
stock and bartering remainders. 

But my letter is exceeding all reasonable length, and I 
will reserve what else I have to say till next post. 

Thomas Hood. 



MOIORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



273 



LETTER n. 

My dear Sir, 
I have perhaps sufficiently illustrated the state of copy- 
right, bad as it is, without the help of foreign interven- 
tion : not, however, without misgivings that I shall be 
suspected of quoting from some burlesque code, drawn 
up by a Rabelais in ridicule of the legislative effi)rts of 
a community of ouran-outangs — or a sample by Swift, 
of the Constitution of the sages of Laputa — I have 
proved that literary property might almost be defined, 
reversing the common advertisement, as something " of 
use to everybody but the owner." To guard this preca- 
rious possession I have shown how the law provides : 1st. 
That if a work be of temporary interest it shall virtually 
be free for any bookwjeer to avail himself of its pages 
and its popularity with impunity. 2nd. That when time 
has stamped a work as of permanent value, the copyright 
shall belong to anybody or nobody. I may now add — 
as if to " huddle jest upon jest," — that the mere registry 
of a work, to entitle it to this precious protection, incurs 
a fee of eleven copies — in value, it might happen, some 
hundreds of pounds ! Then to protect the author — 
" aye, such protection vultures give to the lambs " — I 
have instanced how he is responsible for all he writes — 
and subject to libel and so forth, to fines and imprisonment 
— how he may libel by proxy, and how he may practically 
be libelled himself without redress. I have evidenced 
how the law, that protects his brass-plate on the door, will 
wink at the stealing of his name by a brazen pirate — 
howbeit the author, for only accommodating himself by a 



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forgery, might be transported beyond seas. I have set 
forth how, though he may not commit any breach of 
privilege, he may have his own words garbled, French- 
ified, transmogrified, garnished, taken in or let out, like 
old clothes, turned, dyed, and altered. I have proved in 
short, according to my first position, that in the evil eye 
of the law, " we have neither character to lose nor prop- 
erty to protect ; " that there is " one law for the rich and 
another for the poor " (alias authors) ; and that the 
weights and scales which Justice uses in literary matters 
ought to be broken, before her face by the petty jury. 
And now let me ask, is this forlorn state — its professors 
thus degradingly appreciated, its products thus shabbily 
appraised — the proper condition of literature ? The 
liberty of the press is boasted of as a part of the British 
Constitution ; but might it not be supposed, that in de- 
fault of a Censorship, some cunning Machiavel had 
devised a sly underplot for the discouragement of letters 
— an occult conspiracy to present " men of learning and 
genius " to the world's eye, in the pitiful plight of poor 
devils, starvelings, mumpers, paupers, vagrants, loose-fish, 
jobbers, needy and seedy ones, nobodies, ne'er-do-weels, 
shy coves, strollers, creatures, wretches, abjects, small 
debtors, borrowers, dependents, lackpennies, half-sirs, 
clapper-dudgeons, scamps, insolvents, maunderers, blue- 
gowns bedes-men, scare-crows, fellows about town, sneaks, 
scrubs, shabbies, rascal deer of the herd, animals " wi' 
lettered braw brass collars," but poor dogs for all that ? 
Our family tree is ancient enough, for it is coeval with 
knowledge ; and mythology, the old original Herald's 
College, has assigned us a glorious blazonry. But would 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



275 



not one believe that some sneering Mephistoplieles will- 
ing to pull down " God Almighty's gentlemen," had sought 
to supply the images of their heraldry with a scurvier 
gloss, e. g., a lady patroness with an aigis, that gives more 
stones than bread — a patron who dispenses sunshine in 
lieu of coal and candle — nine elderly spinsters, who 
have never married for "want of fortune — a horse with 
wingSj^that failing oats, he may fly after the chaff that is 
driven before the wind — a forked mount, and no knife 
to it — a lot of bay -trees, and no custards — a spring of 
Adam's ale ! In fact all the standing jests and taunts at 
authors and authorship have their point at poverty : such 
as Grub Street first-floors down the chimney — sixpenny 
ordinaries — second-hand suits — shabby blacks, holes at 
the elbow — and true as epaulette to the shoulder the 
hand of the bum-bailiff! 

Unfortunately, as if to countenance such a plot as I 
have hypothetically assumed above, there is a marked 
disproportion, as compared with other professions, in the 
number of the literary men, w^ho are selected for public 
honours and employments. 

So far indeed from their having, as a body, any voice 
in the senate, they have scarcely a vote at the hustings ; 
for the system under which they suffer is hardly adapted 
to make them forty shilling freeholders, much less to en- 
able them to qualify for seats in the House. A jealous- 
minded person might take occasion to say, that this was 
but a covert mode of affecting the exclusion of men 
whom the gods have made poetical, and whose voices 
might sound more melodious and quite as pregnant w^ith 
meaning as many a vox et prceterea nihil, that is lifted up 



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to Mr. Speaker. A literary man, indeed, — Sheridan 
— is affirmed by Lord Byron to have delivered the best 
speech that was ever listened to in Parliament, and it 
would even add force to the insinuation, that the rotten 
boroughs, averred to be the only gaps by which men 
merely rich in learning and genius could creep into the 
Commons, have been recently stopped up. Of course 
such a plot cannot be entertained ; but in the meantime 
the effect is the same, and whilst an apparent slight is 
cast upon literature, the senate has probably been de- 
prived of the musical wisdom of many wonderful Talk- 
ing Birds through the want of the Golden Waters. For 
instance, it might not only be profitable to hear such a 
man as Southey, who has both read history and written 
history, speak to the matter in hand, when the affairs of 
nations are discussed, and the beacon-lights of the past 
may be made to reflect a guiding ray into the London- 
like fogs of the future. I am quite aware that literary 
genius per se is not reckoned a sufficient qualification for 
a legislator, — perhaps not — but why is not a poet as 
competent to discuss questions concerning the public wel- 
fare, the national honour, the maintenance of morals and 
religion, or the education of the people, as a gentleman, 
without a touch of poetry about him, who had been 
schooling his intellects for the evening's debate by a 
course of morning whist ? Into some of these honorary 
memberships, so to speak, a few distinguished men of 
letters might be safely franked, and if they did not 
exactly turn up trumps — I mean as statesmen — they 
would serve to do away with an awkward impression that 
literature, which as a sort of natural religion is the best 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



277 



ally of a revealed one, has been unkindly denied any 
share in that affectionate relationship which obtains 
between church and state. As for the Upper House, I 
will not presume to say, whether the dignity of that illus- 
trious assembly would have been impaired or otherwise 
by the presence of a baron with the motto, Poeta nasci- 
tur, nonjit; supposing literature to have taken a seat in 
the person of Sir Walter Scott beside the lords of law 
and war. It is not for me to decide whether the brain- 
bewitching art be worthy of such high distinction as the 
brain-bewildering art, or that other one described by a 
bard, himself a peer, as the " brain-spattering art ; " but 
in the absence of such creations it seems a peculiar hard- 
ship that men of letters should not have been selected 
for distinctions ; the " Blue Ribbon of Literature " for 
instance, most legitimately their due. Finally, as if to 
aggravate these neglects, literary men have not been 
consoled as is usual, for the loss of more airy gratifica- 
tions by a share in what Justice Greedy would call " the 
substantial, Sir Giles, the substantials." They have 
been treated as if they were unworthy of public employ- 
ments, at least with two exceptions. Burns, who held a 
post very much under government, and Wordsworth, who 
shares the reproach of " the loaves and fishes " for penny 
rolls and sprats. The want of business-like habits, it is 
true, has been alleged against the fraternity ; but even 
granting such a deficiency, might not the most practical 
idlers, loungers and ramblers of them all fill their posts 
quite as efficiently as those personages, who are paid for 
having nothing to do, and never neglect their duty? Not 
that I am an admirer of sinecures except in the Irish- 



278 



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man's acceptation of the word ; * but may not such 
bonuses to gentlemen, who write as little as they well 
can, viz., their names to the receipts, appear a little like 
a wish to discountenance those other gentlemen, who 
write as much as they well can, and are at the expense 
of printing it besides. 

I had better here enter a little protest against these 
remarks being mistaken for the splenetic and wrathful 
ebullitions of a morbid or addled egotism. I have not 
" deviated into the gloomy vanity of drawing from self." 
I charge the state, it is true, with backing literature as 
the Champion backed Cato — that is to say tail foremost 
— but I am far from considering myself as an over- 
looked, under-kept, wet-blanketed, hid-under-a-bushel, or 
lapped-in-a-napkin individual. I have never, to my 
knowledge, displayed any remarkable aptitude for busi- 
ness, any decided predilection for politics, or unusual 
mastery in political economy — any striking talent at 
" a multiplicity of talk " — and withal I am a very in- 
different hand at a rubber. I have never like Bubb 
Doddington, expressed a determined ambition " to make 
a public figure, I had not decided what, but a public 
figure I was resolved to make." 

Nay, more, in a general view, I am not anxious to see 
literary men " giving up to a party what was meant for 
mankind," or hanging like sloths on the " branches of the 

* One Patrick Maguire. He had been appointed to a situation the 
reverse of a place of all work, and his friends who called to congratu- 
late him, were very much astonished to see his face lengthen on the 
receipt of the news. " A sineciu-e is it ! " exclaimed Pat. " The devil 
thank them for that same. Sure I know what a sinecure is: it'sti 
place where there 's nothing to do, and they pay you by the piece." 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



270 



revenue," or even engrossing working-situations, such as 
gauger-ships, to the exclusion of humbler individuals, 
who like Dogberry, have the natural gifts of reading and 
writing, and nothing else, neither am I eager to claim for 
them those other distinctions, titles, and decorations, the 
dignity of which requires a certain affluence of income 
for its support. A few orders indeed, domestic or foreign, 
conferred through a bookseller hang not ungracefully on 
an author, at the same time that they help to support his 
slender income ; but there would be something too 
ludicrous even for my humour in a star and no coat, a 
garter and no stockings, a coronet and no night-cap, a 
collar and no shirt ! Besides the creatures have like the 
glow-worm and the fire-fly (but at the head instead of the 
tail) a sort of splendour of their own, which makes them 
less in need of any adventitious lustre. If I have dwelt 
on the dearth of State Patronage, public employments, 
honours and emoluments, it was principally to correct a 
vulgar error, not noticed by Sir Thomas Browne ; namely 
that poets and their kind are " marygolds in the sun's 
eye," the world's favourite and pet children ; whereas 
they are in reality its snubbed ones. It was to show that 
Literature, neglected by the government, and unprotected 
by the law, was placed in a false position ; whereby its 
professors present such anomalous phenomena as high 
priests of knowledge without a surplus ; enlarged minds 
in the King's Bench, school-masters obliged to be abroad, 
great scholars without a knife and fork and spoon, master 
minds at journey-work, moral magistrates greatly under- 
paid ; immortals without a living, menders of the human 
heart breaking their own, mighty intellects begrudged 



280 



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their mite, great wits jumping into nothing good, orna- 
ments to their country put on the shelf; constellations of 
genius under a cloud, eminent pens quite stumped up, 
great lights of the age with a thief in them, prophets to 
book sellers ; my ink almost blushes from black to red 
whilst marking such associations of the divine ore with 
the earthly — but methinks 't is the metal of one of their 
scales in which we are weighed and found wanting. 
Poverty is the badge of all our tribe, and its re- 
proach. 

There is for instance, a well-known taunt against a 
humble class of men, who live by their pens, which 
girding not at the quality of their work, but the rate of 
its remuneration, twits them as penny-a-liners ! 'Can 
the world be aware of the range of the shaft ? What, 
pray, was glorious John Milton, upon whom rested an 
after-glow of the Holy Inspiration of the sacred writers, 
like the twilight bequeathed by a midsummer sun ? 
Why, he was, as you may reckon any time in his divine 
" Paradise Lost," not even a ha'penny-a-liner ; we have 
no proof that Shakespeare, the high priest of humanity, 
was even a farthino;-a-liner ; and we know that Homer 
not only sold his lines "gratis for nothing," but gave 
credit to all eternity ! If I wrong the world, I beg 
pardon ; but I really believe it invented the phrase of the 
republic of letters to insinuate that taking the whole lot 
of authors together, they have not got a sovereign amongst 
them ! 

I have now reduced Literature, as an arithmetician 
would say, to its lowest terms. I have shown her like 
misery, — 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



281 



For misery is trodden on by many, 
And, being low, never relieved by any, 

fairly ragged, beggared, and down in the dust, having 
been robbed of her last farthing by a pickpocket, (that 's 
a pirate). There she sits, hke Diggon Davie, — "Her 
was her while it was daylight, but now her is a most 
wretched wight," — or rather like crazy Kate; a laugh- 
ing-stock for the mob, (that 's the world), unprotected by 
the constable, (that's the law), threatened by the beadle, 
(that 's the law, too), repulsed from the workhouse by 
the overseer, (that 's the government), and denied any 
claim on the parish funds. Agricultural distress is a fool 
to it ! one of those counterfeit cranks," to quote from 
" The English Rogue," — " Such as pretend to have the 
falling sickness, and by putting a piece of white soap in- 
to the corner of their mouths will make the froth come 
boiling forth, to cause pity to the beholders." If we 
inquire mto the causes of this depression, some must un- 
doubtedly be laid at the doors of literary men themselves ; 
but perhaps the greater proportion may be traced to the 
want of any definite ideas, amongst people in general, on 
the following particulars: — 1st. How an author writes, 
2nd. Why an author writes, 3rd. What an author writes. 
And 1st, as to how he writes, upon which there is a 
wonderful diversity of opinions ; one thinks that writing 
is " as easy as lying," and pictures the author sitting 
carefully at his desk " with his glove on," like Sir Roger 
De Coverley's poetical ancestor. A second holds that 
" the easiest reading is d d hard writing," and imag- 
ines Time himself heating his brains over an extempore. 



282 



MEMOEIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



A third believes in inspirations, i. e., that metaphors, 
quotations, classical allusions, historical illustrations, and 
even dramatic plots, — all come to the coming author by 
intuition ; whilst ready-made poems, like Coleridge's 
" Kubla Khan," are dictated to him in his sleep. Of 
course the estimate of his desert will rise or fall accord- 
ing to the degree of learned labour attributed to the 
composition ; he who sees in his mind's eye, a genius of 
the lamp, consuming gallons on gallons of midnight oil, 
will assign a rate of reward, regulated probably by 
the success of the Hull whalers, whilst the believer 
in inspiration will doubtless conceive that the author 
ought to be fed, as well as prompted, by miracle, — and 
accordingly bid him look up, like the Apostle on the old 
Dutch tiles, for a bullock coming down from heaven in a 
bundle. 2nd, Why an author writes ; and there is as 
wide a patchwork of opinions on this head as on the 
former. Some think that he writes for the present, — 
others, that he writes for posterity, and a few that he 
writes for antiquity. One believes that he writes for the 
benefit of the world in general, his own excepted, — 
which is the opinion of the law. A second conceives that 
he writes for the benefit of booksellers in particular, and 
this is the trade's opinion. A third takes it for granted 
that he writes for nobody's benefit but his own, which is 
the opinion of the green-room. He is supposed to write 
for fame, for money, for amusement, for political ends, and, 
by certain schoolmasters, " to improve his mind." 

Need it be wondered at, that in this uncertainty as to 
his motives, the world sometimes perversely gives him 
anything but the thing he wants. Thus the rich author, 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



283 



who yearns for fame, gets a pension, — the poor one, \vho 
hungers for bread, receives a diploma from Aberdeen, — 
the writer for amusement has the pleasure of a Mohawk- 
ing review in a periodical ; and the gentleman in search 
of a place has an offer from a sentimental milliner ! 3rd. 
"What an author writes. The world is so much of a 
Champollion that it can understand hieroglyphics, if 
nothing else ; it can comprehend outward visible signs, 
and grapple with a tangible emblem. It knows that a 
man on a table stands for patriotism, a man in a pulpit 
for rehgion, and so on, but it is a little obtuse as to what 
it reads in King Cadmus's types. A book hangs out no 
sign. Thus persons will go through a chapter, enforcing 
some principal duty of man towards his Maker, or his 
neighbour, without discovering that in all but the name 
they have been reading a sermon. A solid mahogany 
pulpit is wanting to such a perception. They will con 
over an essay, glowing with the most ardent love of lib- 
erty, instinct with the noblest patriotism, and replete 
with the soundest maxims of polity without the remotest 
notion that, except its being delivered upon paper, in- 
stead of viva voce, they have been attending to a speech, 
— as for dreaming of the author as a being, who could 
sit in Parliament, and uphold the same sentiments, they 
would as soon think of chairing an abstract idea. They 
must see a bond fide waggon with its true blue, orange, 
or green flag to arrive at such a conclusion. 

The material keeps the upper-hand. Hence the sight 
of a substantial Vicar may suggest the necessity of a 
parsonage and glebe, but the author is, according to the 
proverb, " out of sight, out of mind ; " a spirituality not 



284 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



to be associated with such tangible temporalities as bread 
and cheese. He is condemned far contumace to dine 
tete-a-tete with the Barmecide or Duke Humphrey, whilst 
for want of a visible hustings or velvet cushion, the small 
still voice of his. pages is never conceived of, as coming 
from a patriot, a statesman, a priest, or a prophet : as a 
case in point — there is a short poem by Southey called 
the " Battle of Blenheim " which, from the text of some 
poor fellow's skull, who fell in the great victory, 

For many a thousand bodies there 
Lay rotting in the sun, 

takes occasion to ask what they killed each other for? 
and what good came of it in the end ? These few quaint 
verses contain the very essence of a primary Quaker 
doctrine, yet lacking the tangible sign — a drab coat or a 
broad-brimmed hat — no member of the sect ever yet 
discovered that, in all but the garb, the peace-loving 
author was a Friend, moved by the spirit, and holding 
forth in verse in a strain worthy of the great Fox him- 
self! Is such poetry, then, a vanity, or something worthy 
of all Quakerly patronage ? Yerily if the copyright had 
been valued at a thousand pounds the Society ought to 
have purchased it, — printed the poem as a tract — and 
distributed it by tens of thousands, yea, hundreds of thou- 
sands, till every fighting man in the army and navy had 
a copy, including the marines. The Society, however, 
has done nothing of the kind ; and it has only acted like 
Society in general towards literature, by regarding it as 
a vanity or a luxury, rather than a grand moral engine, 
capable of advancing the spiritual, as well as the tem- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



285 



poral, interests of mankind. It has looked upon poets 
and their kind as common men, and not as spirits that, 
like the ascending and descending angels in Jacob's 
vision, hold commerce with the sky itself, and help to 
maintain the intercourse between earth and Heaven. 

I have yet a few comments to offer on the charges 
usually preferred against literary men, but shall reserve 
them for another and concluding letter. 

Thomas Hood. 



LETTER in. 

My dear Sir, 

Now to the sins which have been laid at the doors, 
or tied to the knockers, of literary men : those offen- 
ces which are to palliate or excuse such pubhc slights 
and neglects as I have set forth ; or, maybe, such 
private ones, as selling a presentation copy, perhaps a 
dedicatory one, as a bookseller would call the " Keep- 
sal^e " with the author's autograph letters — waiving the 
delicacy of waiting for his death, or the policy, for, as 
Crabbe says, one's writings fetch then a better price, be- 
cause there can be no more of them — at a sale of 
Evans's. Literary men, then, have been charged with 
being eccentric — and so are comets. They were not 
created to belong to that mob of undistinguishable — call 
them not stars, but sparks, constituting the Milky Way. 

It is a taunt as old as Chesterfield's Letters, that they 
are not polished : no more was that Chesterfield's son. 



286 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



They do not dress fashionably ; for if they could afford 
it, they know better, in a race for immortal fame, than to 
be outsiders. Some, it has been alleged, have run through 
their estates, which might have been easily traversed at 
a walk ; and one and all have neglected to save half-a- 
crown out of sixpence a day. 

Their disinterestedness has been called imprudence, 
and their generosity extravagance, by parties, who be- 
stow their charity like the miser would.* 

The only charge not a blank charge — that has been 
discharged against them — their poverty, has been made 
a crime, and, what is worse, a crime of their own seek- 
ing. 

They have not, it is true, been notorious for hoarding 
or funding; the last would, in fact, require the creation 
of a stock on purpose for them — the Short Annuities. 
They have never any weight in the city, or anywhere 
else ; in cash temperature their pockets are always at 
zero. They are not " the warm with," but " the cold 
without:" but it is to their credit — if they had any 
credit — that they have not worshipped Plutus. 

The Muse and Mammon never were in partnership ; 
and it ^vould be a desperate speculation indeed to take to 
literature as the means of amassing money. He would 
be a simple Dick Whittington, indeed, who expected to 
find its ways paved with philosophers' stones : he must 

* An illiterate personage, who always volunteered to go round with 
the hat, but was suspected of saving his own pocket. Overhearing 
one day a hint to that effect, he made the following speech: 

" Other gentlemen puts down what they thinks proper, and so do I. 
Charity 's a private concern, and what I gives is nothing to nobody.'* 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



287 



have Dantzic water, with its gold leaf in his head, who 
thinks to find Castaly a Pactolus ; ass, indeed, he must 
be, who dreams of browsing on Parnassus, like those 
asses who feed on a herb (a sort of mint?) that turns 
their very teeth to gold. A line-maker, gifted with 
brains the gods have made poetical, has no chance of 
making an independence — like Cogia Hassan Alhabbal, 
the rope-maker, gifted only with a lump of lead. Look 
into my palm, and if it contain the lines of poetry, the 
owner's fortune may be obtained at once — viz., a hill 
very hard to climb, and no prospect in life from the top. 
It is not always a Mutton Hill, Garlic Hill, or Cornhill 
(remember Otway), for meat, vegetable, or bread. Let 
the would-be Croesus, then, take up a bank-pen and ad- 
dress himself to the Old Lady in Threadneedle Street, 
but not to the Muse ; she may give him some " pinch- 
back," and pinch-front too, but little of the precious 
metals. 

Authorship has been pronounced, by a judge on the 
bench, as but a hand-to-mouth business ; and I believe 
few have ever set up in it as anything else : in fact, did 
not Crabbe, though a reverend, throw a series of summer- 
sets, at least mentally, on the receipt of a liberal sum 
from a liberal publisher, as if he had just won the capital 
prize in the grand lottery? Need it be wondered at, 
then, if men who embraced literature more for love than 
lucre, should grasp the adventitious coins somewhat 
loosely ; nay, purposely scatter abroad, like Boaz, a liberal 
portion of their harvest for those gleaners with whom 
they have, perhaps, had a hand-in-glove acquaintance — 
Poverty and Want ? If there be the lively sympathy of 



288 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



the brain with the stomach that physiologists have averred, 
it is more than likely that there is a similar responsive 
sensibility between the head and the heart; it would 
be inconsistent, therefore, — it would be unnatural, if the 
same fingers that helped to trace the woes of human life 
were but as so many feelers of the Polypus Avarice, 
grasping everything within reach, and retaining it when 
got. We know, on the contrary, that the hand of the 
author of the " Village Poor House " was " open as day 
to melting charity ; " so was the house of Johnson muni- 
ficent in proportion to his means ; and as for Goldsmith, 
he gave more like a rich Citizen of the World than one 
who had not always his own freehold. 

But graver charges than improvidence have been 
brought against the literary character — want of principle, 
and offences against morality and religion. 

It might be answered, pleading guilty, that in that case 
authors have only topped the parts allotted to them in the 
great drama of life — that they have simply acted like 
vagabonds by law and scamps by repute, " who have no 
character to lose or property to protect ; " but I prefer 
asserting, which I do fearlessly, that literary men, as a 
body, will bear comparison in point of conduct with any 
other class. It must not be forgotten that they are sub- 
jected to an ordeal quite peculiar, and scarcely milder 
than the Inquisition. The lives of literary men are pro- 
verbially barren of incident, and consequently the most 
trivial particulars, the most private affairs, are unceremo- 
niously worked up to furnish matter for their bald biog- 
raphers. Accordingly, as soon as an author is defunct, 
his character is submitted to a sort of Egyptian post- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



289 



mortem trial ; or rather, a moral inquest, with Paul Pry 
for the coroner, and a judge of assize, a commissioner of 
bankrupts, a Jew brother, a Methodist parson, a dramatic 
licenser, a dancing master, a master of the ceremonies, a 
rat-catcher, a bone collector, a parish clerk, a schoolmaster, 
and a reviewer, for a jury. 

It is the province of these personages to rummage, 
ransack, scrape together, rake up, ferret out, sniff, detect, 
analyse, and appraise, all the particulars of the birth, 
parentage, and education, life, character, and behaviour, 
breeding, accomplishments, opinions, and literary perform- 
ances of the departed. 

Secret drawers are searched, private and confidential 
letters are published, manuscripts intended for the fire are 
set in type, tavern bills and washing bills are compared 
with their receipts, copies of writs re-copied, inventories 
taken of effects, wardrobe ticked off" by the tailor's ac- 
counts ; by-gone toys of youth, billet-doux, snuff'-boxes, 
canes, exhibited — discarded hobby horses are trotted out 
— perhaps even a dissecting surgeon is called in to draw 
up a minute state of the corpse and its viscera, — in short, 
nothing is spared that can make an item for the clerk to 
insert in his memoir. 

Outrageous as it may seem, this is scarcely an exag- 
geration ; for example, who will dare to say that we do 
not know, at this very hour, more of Goldsmith's affairs 
than he ever did himself? 

It is rather wonderful, than otherwise, that the literary 
character should shine out as it does after such a severe 
scrutiny. Moreover, it remains to be proved that the 
follies and failings attributed to men of learning and 

VOL. II. 1-3 s 



290 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



genius are any more their private property than their 
copyrights after they have expired. 

There are certainly well-educated ignorant people, who 
contend that a little learning is a dangerous thing — for 
the poor. And as authors are poor, as a class, those 
horn-book monopolists may feel bound, in consistency, to 
see that the common errors of humanity are set down in 
the bill to letters. It is, of course, these black and white 
schoolmasters' dogs in a manger that bark and growl at 
the slips and backslidings of literary men ; but to decant 
such cant, and to see through it clearly, it is only neces- 
sary to remember that a fellow will commit half the sins 
in the Decalogue, and all the crimes in the calendar — 
forgery excepted — without ever having composed even 
a valentine in verse, or the description of a lost gelding 
in prose. Finally, if the misdeeds of authors are to be 
pleaded in excuse of the neglect of literature and liter- 
ary men, it would be natural to expect to see these prac- 
tical slights and snubbings fall heaviest on those who have 
made themselves most obnoxious to rebuke. But the 
contrary is the case. I w^ill not invidiously point out ex- 
amples, but let the reader search the record, and he will 
find that the lines which have fallen in pleasant places 
have belonged to men distinguished for anything rather 
than morality or piety. The idea, then, of merit having 
anything to do with the medals, must be abandoned, or 
we shall be prepared to admit a very extraordinary re- 
sult. It is notorious that a foreign bird, for a night's 
warbling, will obtain as much as a native bard — not a 
second-rate one either — can realise in a whole year ; an 
actor will be paid a sum per night equal to the annual 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 291 



stipend of many a curate ; and the month's income of an 
opera dancer will exceed the revenue of a dignitary of 
the church. 

But will any be bold enough to say, except satirically, 
that these disproportionate emoluments are due to the 
superior morality and piety of the concert-room, the 
opera, and the theatre ? They are in a great measure, 
the acknowledgments of physical gifts — a well-tuned 
larynx — a well-turned figure, or light fantastic toes, not 
at all discountenanced in their vocation for being associ- 
ated with light fantastic behaviour. 

Saving, then, an imputed infirmity of temper, — and 
has it not peculiar trials ? — the only well-grounded fail- 
ing the world has to resent, as a characteristic of literary 
men, is their poverty, whether the necessary result of 
their position or of a wilful neglect of their present inter- 
ests, and improvidence for the future. But what is an 
author's future, as regards his worldly prosperity ? The 
law, as if judging him incapable of having heirs, abso- 
lutely prevents his creating a property, in copyrights, 
that might be valuable to his descendants. It declares 
that the interest of the hterary man and literature are 
not identical, and commends him to the composition of 
catchpenny works, things of the day and hour ; or, so to 
speak, encourages him to discount his fame. Should he, 
letting the present shift for itself, and contemning personal 
privations, devote himself, heart and soul, to some work 
or series of works, he may live to see his right and tem- 
poral interest in his books pass away from himself to 
strangers, and his children deprived of what, as well as 
his fame, is their just inheritance. 



292 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



At the best, he must forego the superintendence of the 
publication, and any foretaste of his success, and, hke 
Cumberland when he contemplated a legacy "for the 
eventual use and advantage of a beloved daughter," defer 
the printing of his MSS. till after his death. 

As for the present tense of his prosperity, I have 
shown that his possession is as open to inroad as any 
estate on the Border Lands in days of yore ; such is the 
legal providence that watches over his imputed improvi- 
dence ! The law which takes upon itself to guard the 
interests of lunatics, idiots, minors, and other parties in- 
capable of managing their own affairs, not merely neg- 
lects to commonly protect, but connives at the dilapidation 
of the property of a class, popularly supposed to have a 
touch of that same incompetence. 

It is, perhaps, rather the indifference of a generous 
spirit, which remembers to forget its own profit : but 
even in that case, if the author, like the girl in the fairy 
tale, drops diamonds and pearls from his lips, without 
stooping to pick up any for himself, the world he enriches 
is bound to see that he does not suffer from such a noble 
disinterestedness. Suppose, even, that he be a man wide 
awake to the value of money, the power it confers, the 
luxuries it may purchase, the consideration it commands 
— that he is anxious to make the utmost of his literary 
industry — and literary labour is as worthy of its hire as 
any other — there is no just principle on which he can 
be denied the same 'protection as any other trader. 

It may happen also that his " poverty, and not his will, 
consents" to such a course. 

In this imperfect world there is nothing without its 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD, 



293 



earthly alloy ; and whilst the mind of a poet is married 
to a body, he must perform the divine service of the 
Muses, without banishing his dinner service to the roof 
of the house, as in that Brazilian Cathedral which, for 
want of lead, is tiled with plates and dishes from the 
Staffordshire potteries. He cannot dwell even in the 
temple of Parnassus, but must lodge sometimes in a 
humbler abode, like the old Scotch songsters, with bread 
and cheese for its door-cheeks, and pancakes the rigging 
o't. Moreover as authors, Protestant ones at least, are 
not vowed to celibacy, however devoted to poverty, fast- 
ing, and mortification, there may chance to exist other 
little corporealities, sprouts, offsets, or suckers, which the 
nature of the law, as well as the law of nature, refers for 
sustenance to the parent trunk. Should our bards, jeal- 
ous of these evidences of their mortality, offer to make 
a present of them to the parish, under the plea of mens 
divinior, would not the overseer, or maybe the Poor 
Law Commissioner, shut the workhouse wicket in their 
faces, and tell them that the " mens divinior must provide 
for the men's wives and children?" Pure fame is a 
glorious draught enough, and the striving for it is a no- 
ble ambition ; but alas ! few can afford to drink it neat. 
Across the loftiest visions of the poet earthly faces will 
flit ; and even while he is gazing on Castaly, little famil- 
iar voices will murmur in his ear, inquiring if there are 
no fishes, that can be eaten, to be caught in its waters ! 

It has happened, according to some inscrutable dispen- 
sation, that the mantle of inspiration has commonly de- 
scended on shoulders clad in cloth of the humblest tex- 
tures. Our poets have been Scotch ploughmen, farmers' 



294 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



boys, Northamptonshire peasants, shoemakers, old ser- 
vants, milk-women, basket-makers, steel-workers, charity- 
boys, and the like. Pope's protege^ Dodsley, was a foot- 
man, and wrote " The Muse in Livery." You may 
trace a hint of the double vocation in his " Economy of 
Human Life." * 

Our men of learning and genius have generally been 
born, not with silver spoons in their mouths, but wooden 
ladles. Poetry, Goldsmith says, not only found him 
poor, but kept him so ; but has not the law been hitherto 
lending a hand in the same uncharitable task ? Has it 
not favoured the " Cormorant by the Tree of Knowledge," 
the native Bookaneer ? and " a plague the Devil hath 
added," as Sir J. Overbury calls the foreign pirate. 

To give a final illustration of the working of the law 
of copyright. Sir Walter Scott, besides being a mighty 
master of fiction, resembled Defoe in holding himself 
bound to pay in full all the liabilities he had incurred. 
But the amount was immense, and he died no doubt pre- 
maturely, from the magnitude of the effort. 

A genius so illustrious, united with so noble a spirit of 
integrity, doubly deserved a national monument, and a 
subscription was opened, for the purpose of preserving 
Abbotsford to his posterity, instead of a public grant to 
make it a literary Blenheim. I will not stop to inquire 
whether there was more joy in France when Malbrook 
was dead than sorrow in Britain, or rather throughout 
the world, when Scott was no more; but I must point 

* " The man of ejiulation who panteth after fame. The 
examples of eminent men are in his visions by night — and his delight 
is to follow them (query, with a gold-headed cane) all the day long." 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



295 



out the striking contrast between the two advertisements 
in a periodical paper, which courted my notice on the 
same page. One was a statement of the amount of the 
Abbotsford subscription, the other an announcement of a 
rival edition of one of Sir Walter Scott's works, the 
copyright of which had expired. Every one may not 
feel with me the force of this juxta-position, but I could 
not help thinking that the interest of any of his immortal 
productions ought to have belonged either to his creditors 
or to his heritage. 

Can there be heir-looms I ask myself, and not head- 
looms ? and looms too, that have woven such rich tissues 
of Romance ? Why is a mental estate, any more than a 
landed one, made subject to such an Agrarian law ? In 
spite of all my knowledge of ethics, and all my ignorance 
of law, I have never yet been able to answer these ques- 
tions to my own satisfaction. Perchance Mr. Serjeant 
Talfourd will be prepared with a solution, but if not, I 
trust he will give us " the benefit of the doubt," and make 
an author's copyright heritable property, only subject to 
alienation by his own act, or in satisfaction of the claims 
of creditors. Such a measure will tend to relieve our 
worldly respectability; instead of being nobodies with 
nothing, we shall be, if not freeholders, a sort of copy- 
holders, with something between the sky and the centre, 
that we can call our own. It may be but a nominal pos- 
session, but if it were of any value, why should it be 
made common for the benefit of the Company of Station- 
ers. They drink enough out of our living heads, Avith- 
out quaffing out of our skulls, like the kings of Dahomey. 
As to the probabiUty of their revivals of authors, who 



296 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



were adored, but have fallen into neglect and oblivion — 
remembering how the trade boggled at " Robinson Cru- 
soe," and the " Vicar of Wakefield," there would be as 
much chance of a speculative lawyer reviving such dor- 
mant titles ! For my own part, I am far from expecting, 
personally, any pecuniary advantage from such an ar- 
rangement; but I have some regard for the abstract 
right. There is always a certain sense of humiliation 
attendant on finding that we are made exceptions, as if 
incapable or undeserving of the enjoyment of equal jus- 
tice. And can there be a more glaring anomaly than 
that, whilst our private property is thrown open and 
made common, we daily see other commons enclosed, and 
made private property ? One thing is certain, that, by 
taking this high ground at once, and making copyright 
analogous to tenure of the soil itself — and it pays its 
land tax in the shape of a tax upon paper — its defence 
may be undertaken with a better grace against trespass 
at home or invasion from abroad. For after all, what 
does the pirate or Bookaneer commit at present but a 
sort of piratical anachronism, by anticipating a period 
when the right of printing will belong to everybody in 
the world, including the man in the moon ! 

Such it appears to me is the grand principle, upon 
which the future law of copyright ought to be based. I 
am aware that I have treated the matter somewhat com- 
mercially; but I have done so, partly because in that 
light principally the legislature will have to deal with it ; 
and still more because it is desirable, for the sake of lit- 
erature and literary men, that they should have every 
chance of independence, rather than be compelled to 
look to extraneous sources for their support. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



297 



Learning and genius, worthily directed, and united to 
common industry, surely deserve, at least, a competence ; 
and that their possessor should be something better than 
a Jarkman ; that is to say " one who can read and write, 
yea some of them have a smattering in the Latin tongue, 
which learning of theirs advances them in olfice among 
the beggars." The more moderate in proportion the 
rate of their usual reward, the more scrupulously ought 
every particle of their interests to be promoted so as to 
spare, if possible, the necessity of private benefactions or 
public collections for the present distress, and " Literary 
Retreats " for the future. Let the weight and worth of 
literature in the state be formally recognised by the leg- 
islature; let the property of authors be protected, and 
the upholding of the literary character will rest on their 
own heads. They will, perhaps, recollect that their 
highest office is to make the world wiser and better ; 
their lowest to entertain and amuse it, without making it 
worse. 

For the rest, bestow on literary men their full share 
of pubHc honours and employments ; concede to them, as 
they deserve, a distinguished rank in the social system, 
and they will set about effacing such blots as now tarnish 
their scutcheons. The surest way to make a class in- 
different to reputation is to give it a bad name. Hence Ht- 
erature having been publicly underrated, and its professors 
having been treated as vagabonds, scamps, fellows " without 
character to lose or property to protect," we have seen con- 
duct to match : reviewers, forgetful of common courtesy, 
common honesty, and common charity, misquoting, mis- 
representing, and indulging in the grossest personalities, 

13* 



298 



MEMOEIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



even to the extent of ridiculing bodily defects and in- 
fii-mities — political partisans bandying scurrilous names, 
and scolding like Billingsgate mermaids — and authors 
so far trampling on the laws of morals, and the rights of 
private life, as to write works capable of being puffed off 
as club books got up among the Snakes, Sneerwells, Can- 
dours, and Backbites, of the School for Scandal. 

And now, before I close, I will here place on record 
my own obligations to literature : a debt so immense as 
not to be cancelled, like that of nature, by death itself. 
I owe to it something more than earthly welfare. Adrift 
early in life upon the great waters — as pilotless as 
Wordsworth's blind boy afloat in the turtle shell — if I did 
not come to shipwreck, it was, that in default of paternal 
or fraternal guidance, I was rescued like the Ancient 
Mariner, by guardian spirits, " each one a lovely light," 
who stood as beacons to my course. Infirm heahh, and 
a natural love of reading, happily threw me, instead of 
worse society, into the company of poets, philosophers, 
and sages — to me good angels and ministers of grace. 
From these silent instructors — who often do more than 
fathers, and always more than god-fathers, for our tem- 
poral and spiritual interests — from these mild monitors, 
no importunate tutors, teasing mentors, moral task mas- 
ters, obtrusive advisers, harsh censors, or wearisome lec- 
turers, but delightful associates, I learned something of 
the divine, and more of the human religion. They were 
my interpreters in the House Beautiful of God, and my 
guides among the Delectable Mountains of Nature. They 
reformed my prejudices, chastened my passions, tempered 
my heart, purified my tastes, elevated my mind, and di- 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



299 



rected my aspirations. I was lost in a chaos of undi- 
gested problems, false theories, crude fancies, obscure 
impulses, and bewildering doubts, when these bright in- 
telligences called my mental world out of darkness like 
a new Creation, and gave it "two great lights," Hope 
and Memory, the past for a moon, and the future for a 
sun. 

Hence have I genial seasons — hence have I 

Smooth passions, smooth discourse and joyous thoughts, 

And thus from day to day my little boat 

Rocks in its harbour — lodging peaceably. 

Blessings be with them, and eternal praise, 

Who gave us nobler loves and nobler cares ; — ■ 

The poets, who on earth have made us heirs 

Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays ! 

O might my name be numbered among theirs, 

How gladly would I end my mortal days. 

Thomas Hood. 



FRAGMENT. 

Of all the occult problems in mental philosophy, there 
is none so puzzling, next to the question between sanity and 
insanity, than to show the difference between the brutal 
reason (commonly confounded with instinct) and the human. 

If all the stories told of dogs and cats, &c., be true, the 
clever creatures that go on four legs are geniuses compared 
with many of the animals of our own species who walk upon 
two. An elephant is as great a Solomon as his keeper, and 
a hog more of a Lord Bacon than his feeder. Some of the 
heads of the nation have not as much in them as a beaver : 



300 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



a porcupine looks as sharp, and a goose has as much nous as 
the Lord who is wi'iting with one of her quills. A whale 
is as deep a thinker as the author, who is consuming midnight 
oil. And finally the donkeys on the Commons are as saga- 
cious as some members in them. 



FRAGMENT OF A LETTER. 
* * * * 

The religious excitement was fostered and encouraged 
by the example of one, who professedly made the practice of 
piety a part of his business, and was a saint on trading prin- 
ciples. I have had an extensive experience of such saints ; 
and, as the result, exclaim " Give me rather declared infidels 
than such professing Christians ! " In fact, when a man 
makes a mockery of his religious duties, how can we expect 
him to observe his moral ones, or that he will behave better 
to his wife than to his Maker? It is lamentable that so 
solemn an interest as the eternal welfare of the soul should 
have influenced him so much too little, and her so overmuch. 
It is lamentable indeed that what should have been her 
blessing became her bane — by excess : for religion is the 
natural refuge of a woman disappointed in her affections. 
Surely it was as pardonable for her to repair for comfort 
from an uncomfortable home to church or chapel, as for 
him to seek it in a lodge of Druids. If her feelings on 
spiritual matters became overstrained, it was partly through 
his own hypocritical conduct, and the canting circle to which 
it introduced and confined her. 

* * * * 

As I derived this account of his piety from yourself, you 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 301 



will not of course dispute my position. But you will perhaps 
recommend me, in your favourite phrase, to hold a candle to 
the Devil — an act toward the Fiend I do not particularly 
admire, unless intended to burn him; and for that purpose 
a torch were preferable. I for one do not recognise the 
doctrine of Immoral Expediency. The right are not to be 
sacrificed out of complaisance to the wrong. 



STAI^ZAS. 

With the good of our country before us, 
Why play the mere partisan's game ? 

Lo ! the broad flag of England is o'er us, 
And behold on both sides 't is the same ! 

Not for this, not for that, not for any, 

Not for these, nor for those, but for all, — 

To the last drop of blood, the last penny, 
Together let 's stand, or let *s fall ! 

Tear down the vile signs of a fraction, 
Be the national banner unfurled, — 

And if we must have any faction, — 
Be it " Britain against all the world." 



TO HOPE. 

Oh ! take, young seraph, take thy harp, 
And play to me so cheerily ; 

For grief is dark, and care is sharp, 
And life wears on so wearily. 
Oh ! take thy harp ! 



302 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Oh ! sing as thou wert wont to do, 

When, all youth's sunnv season Ion"-, 

I sat and listen'd to thy song, 
And yet 't was ever, ever new, 
AVith magic in its heaven-tuned string, — 

The future bhss thy constant theme. 
Oh ! then each little woe took wing 

Away, like phantoms of a dream ; 
As if each sound 
That flutter'd round 

Had floated over Lethe's stream ! 

By all those bright and happy hours 

We spent in life's sweet eastern bow'rs, 

AVhere thou wouldst sit and smile, and show. 

Ere buds were come, where flowers would grow, 

And oft anticipate the rise 

Of life's warm sun that scaled the skies ; 

By many a story of love and glory, 

And friendships promised oft to me ; 

By all the faith I lent to thee, — 

Oh ! take, young seraph, take thy harp, 

And play to me so cheerily ; 
For grief is dark, and care is sharp. 

And life wears on so wearily. 
Oh ! take thy harp ! 

Perchance the strings wiU sound less clear, 

That long have lain neglected by 
In sorrow's misty atmosphere ; 
It ne'er may speak as it has spoken 

Such joyous notes so brisk and high ; 
But are its golden chords all broken ? 
Are there not some, though weak and low. 
To play a lullaby to woe ? 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



303 



But thou canst sing of love no more, 

For Celia show'd that dream was vain ; 
And many a fancied bliss is o'er, 
That comes not e'en in dreams again. 
Alas ! alas ! 
How pleasures pass. 
And leave thee now no subject, save 
The peace and bliss beyond the grave ! 
Then be thy flight among the skies : 

Take, then, oh ! take the skylark's wing. 
And leave dull earth, and heavenward rise 
O'er all its tearful clouds, and sing 
On skylark's wing ! 

Another life-spring there adorns 

Another youth, without the dread 
Of cruel care, whose crown of thorns 

Is here for manhood's aching head. 
Oh ! there are realms of welcome day, 
A world where tears are wiped away ! 
Then be thy flight among the skies : 

Take, then, oh ! take the skylark's wing. 
And leave dull earth, and heavenward rise 

O'er all its tearful clouds, and sing 
On skylark's wing ! 

July^ 1821. 



THE FAREWELL. 

To a French Air. 

Fare thee well, • 

Gabrielle ! 
Whilst I join France 
With bright cuirass and lance. 



304 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 

Trumpets swell, 

Gabrielle ! 
War horses prance, 
And cavaliers advance ! 

In the night, 

Ere the fight, 

In the night 
I '11 think of thee ! 

And in pray'r, 

Lady fair ! 

In thy pray'r 
Then think of me ! 

Death may knell, 

Gabrielle ! 
"^^Tiere my plumes dance. 
By arquebus or lance ! 

Then farewell, 

Gabrielle ! 
Take my last glance ! 
Fair Miracle of France ! 



MIDNIGHT. 

Unfathomable Night ! how dost thou sweep 
Over the flooded earth, and darkly hide 
The mighty city under thy full tide ; 

Making a silent palace for old Sleep, 

Like his own temple under the hush'd deep. 
Where all the busy day he doth abide, 
And forth at the late dark, outspreadeth wide 

His dusky wings, whence the cold waters weep ! 

How peacefully the living millions lie ! 
Lull'd unto death beneath his poppy spells ; 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



305 



There is no breath — no living stir — no cry — 
No tread of foot — no song — no music-call — 

Only the sound of melancholy bells — 
The voice of Time — survivor of them all ! 



SONG. 

TO MY WIFE. 

Those eyes that were so bright, love, 

Have now a dimmer shine, — 
But all they 've lost in light, love, 

Was what they gave to mine : 
But still those orbs reflect, love. 

The beams of former hours, — 
That ripen'd all my joys, my love, 

And tinted all my flowers ! 

Those locks were brown to see, love. 

That now are turned so gray, — 
But the years were spent with me, love. 

That stole their hue away. 
Thy locks no longer share, love, 

The golden glow of noon, — 
But I 've seen the world look fair, my love. 

When silvered by the moon ! 

That brow was smooth and fair, love, 

That looks so shaded now, — 
But for me it bore the care, love, 

That spoiled a bonny brow. 
And though no longer there, love. 

The gloss it had of yore, — 
Still Memory looks and dotes, my love. 

Where Hope admired before ! 

T 



306 I^IEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



A TOAST. 

Come ! a hcaltli ! and it 's not to be slighted with sips, 

A cold pulse, or a spirit supine — 
All die blood in my heart seems to rush to my lips 

To commingle its flow with the wine ! 

Bring a cup of the purest and solidest ware, — 

But a little antique in its shape ; 
And the juice, — let it be the most racy and rare, 

All the bloom, with the age, of the grape ! 

Even such is the love I would celebrate now. 
At once young, and mature, and in prime, — 

Like the tree of the orange, that shows on its bough 
The bud, blossom, and fruit, at one time ! 

Then with three, as is due, let the honours be paid. 
Whilst I give with my hand, heart, and head, 

" Here 's to her, the fond mother, dear partner, kind maid, 
Who first taught me to love, woo, and wed ! " 

November Qth, 1836. 



BALLAD.* 

It was not in the Winter 

Our loving lot was cast ; 
It was the Time of Hoses, — 

We plucked them as we pass'd ! 

* We have inserted this poem, although it appears in the published 
collection, because two stanzas are there omitted, which we do not 
consider should be lost. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 307 



That churlish season never frown'd 

On early lovers yet : — 
Oh, no — the world was newly crown'd 

With flowers when fii-st we met ! 

'T was twilight, and I bade you go, 

But still you held me fast ; 
It was the Time of Roses, — 

We plucked them as we pass'd. — 

VJlmt else could peer thy glowing cheek, 

That tears began to stud ? 
And when I asked the like of love, 

You snatched a damask bud ; 

And oped it to the dainty core, 

Still glowing to the last, — 
It was the Time of Roses, 

We pluck'd them as we pass'd ! 



SONG* 

There is dew for the flow'ret. 

And honey for the bee, 
And bowers for the wild bird, 

And love for you and me. 

Tliere are tears for the many, 

And pleasure for the few ; 
But let the world pass on, dear. 

There 's love for me and you. 

* The two first verses of this poem were written by my father, the 
last two were added by Barry Cornwall, at my mother's request, with 
a view to its being published with music. 



308 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



There is care that will not leave us, 
And pain that will not flee ; 

But on our hearth, unalter'd. 
Sits Love — 'tween you and me. 

Our love, it ne'er was reckoned, 
Yet good it is and true — 

It 's /<a// the world to me, dear, 
It 's all the world to you. 



BIRTHDAY VERSES. 

Good morrow to the golden morning, 
Good morrow to the world's delight — 

I 've come to bless thy life's beginning. 
Since it makes my own so bright ! 

I have brought no roses, sweetest, 
I could find no flowei-s, dear, — 

It was when all sweets were over 
Thou wert born to bless the year. 

But I 've brought thee jewels, dearest, 
In thy bonny locks to shine, — 

And if love shows in their glances, 
They have learn'd that look of mine ! 



STANZAS. 

Is there a bitter pang for love removed ? 

Oh God ! the dead love doth not cost more tears 
Than the alive, the loving, the beloved — 

Not yet, not yet beyond all hopes and fears ! 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 309 



Would I were laid 
Under the shade 
Of the calm grave, and the long grass of years — 

That love might die with sorrow : — I am Sorrow; 

And she, that loves me tenderest, doth press 
Most poison from my cruel lips, and borrow 
Only new anguish from the old caress. 
Oh, this world's grief 
Hath no relief, 
In being wrung from a great happiness ! 

Would I had never filled thine eyes with love. 

For love is only tears : would I had never 
Breathed such a curse-like blessing as we prove : 
Now, if " Farewell " could bless thee, I would sever ! 
Would I were laid 
Under the shade 
Of the cold tomb, and the long grass for ever ! 



THE LAY OF THE LARK. 

[It has been no easy task to arrange the following fragmentary 
verses, as they were very roughly written in the original MS. The 
last four lines are given as they afford some hint as to the probable 
intention of the poem.] 

With dew upon its breast 

And sunshine on its wing, 
The lark uprose from its happy nest, 

And thus it seemed to sing : — 
" Sweet, sweet ! from the middle of the wheat 

To meet the morning gray, 
To leave the corn on a very merry morn, 

Nor have to curse the day." 



310 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



"With the dew upon their breast, 

And the sunlight on their "win"^, 
Toward the skies from the furrows rise 

The larks, and thus they sing : — 
" If you would know the cause 

That makes us sing so gay. 
It is because we hail and bless, 

And never curse the day. 
Sweet, sweet ! from the middle of the wheat, 
(^Wliere lurk our callow b-ood), 

Where we were hatched, and fed, 
Amidst the corn on a very merry morn, 

( We never starve for food) 

We never starve for bread ! " 

* * * * 

Those flowers so very blue. 
Those poppies flaming red, — 

* * * * 

His heavy eye was glazed and dull. 
He only murmured " bread ! " 



TO jMINERVA. 

FROM THE GREEK. 

My temples throb, my pulses boil, 

I 'm sick of Song, and Ode, and Ballad — 

So, Thyrsis, take the IMidnight Oil 
And pour it on a lobster salad. 

My brain is dull, my sight is foul, 
I cannot write a verse, or read — 

Then, Pallas, take away thine Owl, 
And let us have a Lark instead. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 311 



FRAGMENT. 

PROBABLY WRITTEN DURING ILLNESS. 

I 'm sick of gruel, and the dietetics, 

I 'm sick of pills, and sicker of emetics, 

I 'm sick of pulses' tardiness or quickness, 

I 'm sick of blood, its thinness or its thickness, — 

In short, within a word, I 'm sick of sickness ! 



[The following is a fragment found among our father's papers.] 

To note the symptoms of the times, 
Its cruel and cold-blooded crimes, 

One sure result we win 
(Tho' rude and rougher modes no doubt 
Of murther are not going out) 

That poison's coming in. 

* * * * 

The powder that the doomed devour 

And drink, — for sugar, — meal — or flour — 

Narcotics for the young — 
And worst of all, that subtle juice, 
That can a sudden death produce, 

Whilst yet upon the tongue. 

So swift in its destructive pace. 
Easy to give, and hard to trace, 

So potable — so clear ! 
So small the needful dose — to slip 
Between the fatal cup and lip 

In Epsom salts or beer. 

* * * * 



312 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Arrest the Plague with Cannabis — 
And * * * publish this 

To quench the felon's hope : — 
Twelve drops of Prussic acid still 
Are not more prompt and sure to kill, 

Than one good Drop of Rope. 

THE COmiON-PLACE BOOK. 

[We have extracted the following scraps, which appear to be hints 
adapted for insertion in any article they might suit,] 

Some men pretend to j^enetration, who have not even haJf- 
joerm^-tration. 

" Worming out secrets." After a shower the worms come 
\J forth : so — wet a man's clay, and you will soon see his 
secrets. 

The French always put the cart before the horse : Pere la 
Chaise, for a chaise and pair. 

Mutes at a door hint at Life's Mutability. 

A Quciker makes a pleasure of his business, and then for 
relaxation, makes a business of his pleasure. 

A Quaker loves the Ocean for its broad brim. 

A parish clerk's amen-ity of disposition. 

A cold friend is but a mulled ice, as uncomfortable as a day 
just too warm for a fire - — a plum in marble. 

A man, that took perpetual physic to improve the expres- 
sion of his face. 

Puny draughts can hardly be called drinking — Pints can- 
not be deemed Po^-ations. 

J anuary is cold — but Febber-rer?/ ! 

Straight hair is of a Methodistical turn. 

Two young Irishmen, for cheapness, and to divide their 
expenses, agree the one to "board," and the other to " lodge." 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



318 



A good Church minister described as Piety Parsonified. 

Her face was so sunburnt, she need only have buttered it 
to become a " toast." 

" And he 's as drunk as a hog, I suppose ? " " No — he 
spent two shillings in liquor, and so is as drunk as two liogs." 

Loves of the Plants : Tatoes have eyes, and Cabbages have 
hearts. 

How many kinds of Currents are there ? Three — red, 
white, and black — a black currant in the Black Sea, a white 
currant in the White Sea, and a red currant in the Red Sea. 

If three barleycorns go to an inch, how many corns go to a 
foot ? Uncertain. Bunyan says thirty-six. 

Who have the tenderest feet ? Cornish men. 

Who make surest of going to Heaven ? Descenters. 

Why did the two lovers of St. Pierre end happily ? Be- 
cause when she died it was still Pall and Virginia. 

Ackermann's garden. The German taste for horrors. 
His summer house, in his pleasure garden, hung round with 
casts of murderers, &c., who had been hung. Perhaps, 
though, he liked the impression of the " Forget-me-^noi " be- 
hind the ear. 

After two or three miss-fires, M exclaimed, " I can't 

think why my gun wont go off." " Perhaps," said N , 

" you have n't paid your shot." 

Jove's Eagle Asleep. 
I saw, through his eyelids, the might of his eyes. 

River of Life. 

Those waters you hear, 
Yet see not — they flow so invisibly clear. 

The Sun and Moon. 

Father of light — and she, its mother mild. 
VOL. ir. 14 



314 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 

Night. 

Shedder of secret tears 
Felt upon unseen pillows — shade of Death ! 

The Moon. 

Sometimes she riseth from her shroud 
Like the pale apparition of a sun. 

Mercury. 

That bantam Mercuiy, with feathered heels. 

A Lady. 

She sighed 

And paleness came, like moonlight, o'er her face. 

She was like an angel in mosaic, 
Made up of many-coloured virtues. 

A friendless heart is like a hollow shell, 
That sighs o'er its own emptiness. 

He lay with a dead passion on his face, 
Like a storm stiffen'd in ice. 

Sometimes Hope 
Singeth so plaintively, 't is like Despair. 
Her smile can make dull Melancholy grow 
Transparent to the secret hope below. 

Morning. 

Surely this is the birthday of no grief. 
That dawns so pleasantly along the skies ! 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



315 



The lusty Morn 
Cometli, all flushed, and singing, from a feast 
Of wine and music in the odorous East. 

The sun unglues 
The crimson leaves of Morning, that doth lie, 
Like a streaked rosebud in the orient sky. 

Epigram. 

My heart 's wound up just like a watch, 

As far as springs will take — 
It wants but one more evQ turn, 

And then the cords wiU break ! 



MEMORAi^DA FROM POCKET-BOOK. 

" I 'VE lost the best of men, — and got a better." 

put up his hay wet, for fear of incendiarism. 

A capital pony : only give him beans enough, and he '11 go 
out of the yard like a man ! 

The Germans would have made Adam of />zpe-clay. 

A ghost, full of the Esprit de Corpse. 

As superior in strength as A-bility to D-bility. 

If seeing is believing, Milton was a sceptic. 

A surgeon who courted a lady, and, when rejected, charged 
for his visits. 

My Father (a character in " Our Family ") gives a large 
donation to a blind man, because he himself is enjoying a fine 
prospect. 

Dragon-flies, all head and tail, like glorified tadpoles on 
gauzy wings. 

" What a little child ! " — Ah, his parents never made much 
of him. 



316 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Applied a stethoscope to his stomach, and distinctly heard 
it say, " Pit full ! " 

Epigram. 
The Supeeiokity of Machinery. 

A MECHANIC his labour will often discard, 

If the rate of his pay he dislikes ; 
But a clock — and its case is uncommonly hard — 

Will continue to work, tho' it strikes I 

Epigram. 
As human fashions change about. 

The reign of Fools should now begin ; 
For when the Wigs are going out. 

The Naturals are coming in ! 



LINES 

IN ANSWER TO A POEM ENTITLED "SPRING," SIGNED " PAUPER," 
IN THE ATHENiEUM. 

Don't tell me of buds and blossoms, 

Or with rose and vi'let wheedle ; 
Nosegays grow for other bosoms — 

Churchwarden and Beadle. 
What have you to do with streams ? 

What with sunny skies, or garish 
Cuckoo-song, or pensive dreams ? — 

Nature 's not your Parish ! 

Wliat right have such as you to dun 

For sun or moon-beams, warm or bright ? 

Before you talk about the sun, 
Pay for window-light ! 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 317 



Talk of passions — amorous fancies ! — 
While your betters' flames miscarry — 

If you love your Dolls and Nancys, 
Don't we make you marry ? 

Talk of wintry chill and storm, — 

Fragrant winds, that blanch your bones ! 
You poor can always keep you warm — 

An't there breaking stones ? 
Suppose you don't enjoy the Spring, 

Roses fair and vi'lets meek. 
You cannot look for everything 

On eighteen-pence a week ! 

With seasons what have you to do ? 

If corn doth thrive and wheat is harm'd ? 
What 's weather to the cropless ? You 

Don't farm — but you are farm'd ! 
Why everlasting murmurs hurl'd 

With hardship for the text ? — 
If such as you don't like this world. 

We '11 pass you to the next. 

Overseer. 



JARVIS AND MRS. COPE. 

A DECIDEDLY SERIOUS BALLAD. 

Ix Bunhill Row, some years ago, 
There lived one IMrs. Cope, 

A pious woman she was call'd. 
As Pius as a Pope. 

Not pious in its proper sense. 
But chatt'ring like a bird 

Of sin and grace — in such a case 
Mag-piety 's the word. 



318 MEMOEIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Cries she, " the Keverend Mr. Trigg 

This day a text will broach, 
And much I long to hear him preach, 

So, Betty, call a coach." 

A bargain tho' she wish'd to make, 

Ere they began to jog — 
" Now, Coachman, what d' ye take me for ? " 

Says Coachman, " for a hc^." 

But Jarvis, when he set her down, 

A second Tiog did lack — 
Whereas she only offered him 

One shilling and " a track." 

Says he " There ain't no tracks in Quaife, 
You and your tracks be both — " 

And, afSdavit-like, he clench'd 
Her shilling with an oath. 

Said she " I '11 have you fined for this, 

And soon it shall be done, 
I '11 have you up at Worship Street, 

You wicked one, naught, one ! " 

And sure enough at Worship Street 

That Friday week they stood ; 
She said had language he had used, 

And thus she " made it goad" 

" He said two shillings was his fare. 

And would n't take no less — 
I said one shilling was enough, — 

And he said C — U— SI 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 319 



" And when I raised my eyes at that, 

He swore again at them, 
I said he was a wicked man, 

And he said D — A — M." 

Now Jarvy's turn was come to speak 

So he stroked down his hair, 
" AlII what she says is false — cause why ? 

I '11 swear I never swear ! 

"There 's old Joe Hatch, the watei-man, 

Can tell you what I am, 
I 'm one of seven children, all 

Brought up without a Dam ! 

" He 11 say from two year old and less 

Since ever I were nust, 
If ever I said C — U— S, 

I wish I may be cust ! 

" At Sion Cottage I takes up, 

And raining all the while, 
To go to New Jerusalem, 

A wery long two mile. 

"Well, when I axes for my fare, 

She rows me in the street, 
And uses words as is not fit 

For coachmen to repeat ! 

" Says she, — I know where you will go, 

You sinner ! I know well, — 
Your worship, it 's the P — I — T 

Of E and double L ! " 



320 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



Now here his worship stopp'd the case — 
Said he — "I fine you both ! 

And of the two — why Mrs. Cope's 
I think the bifrp-est oath ! " 



My father was frequently requested to send autographs 
to various people, who applied for them in as many va- 
rious manners. Among other letters of this description 
we have discovered one thoroughly American one, writ- 
ten on a sheet of paper, adorned, in lieu of a view, with a 
map of Cincinnati, reminding one painfully of Little 
Eden in Martin Chuzzlewit. A table of references oc- 
cupies the corner, in which it is shown that a cross 
means a church, a sort of comet a market, a circle a the- 
atre, and lastly a congeries of tiny dots " Improvements." 
Nearly the whole of the map being covered with dots 
proves that Cincinnati, like Little Eden, was decidedly a 
spot susceptible of immense improvements. 

We have quoted one letter from a " Lady Friend," as 
worthy of insertion for its quaintness. 

Esteemed Friend, Thomas Hood, 
The recollection of a stroll, taken some time since 
along a beautiful beach, and of picking up every pebble, 
that attracted my attention by its beauty, came across 
my mind, and took an ideal form, the other day, on peru- 
sal of the celebrated " Song of the Shirt " thus : the au- 
thors were unseen spirits wandering o'er the sand, the 
pebbles lying along it, their works ; the sea was the tide 
of genius which rolled anon over them, and often, on its 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



321 



ebb, left behind it some jewels of value, so polished by 
the motion of its waves that one, in admiration of a bril- 
liancy which shone alike for all the public, longed — ah, 
how much — for one little plain pebblet, composed or 
made solely for yourself by the author. Thy autograph, 
should thou be so very kind as to give it me, is the peb- 
ble I so much wish to receive from thee, and a carefully 
stored and a prized one it should be. 

By the candle of hope I shall sign myself thy very 
affectionate 

And very respectful friend, 

M. H. 

The following letter was printed in a Magazine in an- 
SM'er to a letter requesting an autograph. 

TO D. A. A., Esq., EDINBUKGH. 
an autograph. 

Sir, 

I am much flattered by your request, and am quite 
wilhng to accede to it ; but, unluckily, you have omitted 
to inform me of the sort of thing you want. Autographs 
are of many kinds. Some persons chalk them on walls ; 
others inscribe what may be called auto-lithographs, in 
sundry colours, on the flag stones. Gentlemen in love 
delight in carving their autographs on the bark of trees ; 
as other idle fellows are apt to hack and hew them on 
tavern benches and rustic seats. Amongst various 
modes, I have seen a shop-boy dribble his autograph 
from a tin of water on a dry pavement. The autographs 

u 



322 MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



of charity boys are written on large sheets of paper, illu- 
minated with engravings, and are technically called 
" pieces." The celebrated Miss Biffin used to distribute 
autographs among her visitors, which she wrote with a 
pen grasped between her teeth. Another, a German 
phenomenon, held the implement with his toes. The 
man in the iron mask scratched an autograph with his 
fork on a silver plate, and threw it out of the window. 
Baron Trenck smudged one with a charred stick ; and 
Silvio Pellico with his fore-finger dipped in a mixture of 
soot-and-water. 

Lord Chesterfield wrote autographs on windows with 
a diamond pencil ; so did Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen 
Elizabeth. Draco, when Themis requested a few sen- 
tences for her album, dipped his stylus in human blood. 
Faust used the same fluid in the autograph he bartered 
with Mephistopheles. The Hebrews write their Shpar- 
gotua * backwards ; and some of the Orientals used to 
clothe them in Hieroglyphics. An ancient Egyptian, if 
asked for his autograph, would probably have sent to the 
collector a picture of what Mrs. Malaprop calls "An 
Allegory on the banks of the Nile." Aster, the archer, 
volunteered an autograph, and sent it bang into Philip's 
right eye. Some individuals are so chary of their hand- 
writing, as to bestow, when requested, only a mark or 
cross, others more liberally adorn a specimen of their 
penmanship with such extraneous flourishes, as a cork- 
screw, a serpent, or a circumbendibus, not to mention 
such caligraphic fancies as eagles, ships, and swans. 

* As the Hebrews write, so must those read, who wish to under- 
stand this word. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 323 



Then again, there are what may be called Mosaic auto- 
graphs, i. e. inlaid with cockle-shells, blue and white peb- 
bles, and the like, in a little gravel walk. 

Our grandmothers worked their autographs in canvas 
samplers ; and I have seen one wrought out with pins' 
heads on a huge white pincushion, as thus, 

WELCOME SWEAT BABBY, 

MARY JONES. 

When the sweetheart of Mr. John Junk requested his 
autograph, and explained what it was, namely, " a couple 
of lines or so, with his name to it," he replied that he 
would leave it to her in his will, " seeing as how it was 
done with gunpowder on his left arm." 

There have even been autographs written by proxy. 
For example. Dr. Dodd penned one for Lord Chester- 
field ; but to oblige a stranger in this way is very danger- 
ous, considering how easily a few lines may be twisted 
into a rope. According to Lord Byron, the Greek girls 
compound autographs as apothecaries make up prescrip- 
tions ; with such materials as flowers, herbs, ashes, peb- 
bles, and bits of coal ; Lord Byron, himself, if asked for 
a specimen of his hand, would probably have sent a 
plaster cast of it. King George the Fourth and the 
Duke of York, when their autographs were requested 
for a keepsake, royally favoured the applicant with some 
of their old Latin-English exercises. With regard to my 
own particular practice, I have often traced an autograph 
with my walking-stick on the sea-sand. I also seem to 
remember writing one with my forefinger on a dusty 



324 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



table, and am pretty sure I could do it with the smoke of 
a candle on the ceiling.* I have seen something like a 
badly scribbled autograph made by children with a thread 
of treacle on a slice of suet dumpling. Then it may be 
done with vegetables. My little girl grew her autograph, 
the other day, in mustard and cress. Domestic servants, 
I have observed, are fond of scrawling autographs on a 
tea-board with the slopped milk ; also of scratching them 
on a soft deal dresser, the lead of the sink, and above all, 
the quicksilver side of a looking-glass, a surface, by the 
bye, quite irresistible to any one who can write, and does 
not bite his nails. A friend of mine possesses an auto- 
graph, " Remember Jim Hoskins," done with a red hot 
poker on the back-kitchen door. This, however, is awk- 
ward to bind up. 

Another, — but a young lady, — possesses a book of 
autographs, filled just like a tailor's pattern book — with 
samples of stuff and fustian. The foregoing, sir, are but 
a few of the varieties ; and the questions that have oc- 
curred to me in consequence of your only naming the 
genus, and not the species, have been innumerable. 
Would the gentleman like it short or long ? for Doppel- 
dickius, the learned Dutclunan, wrote an autograph for a 
friend, which the latter published in a quarto volume. 
Would he prefer it in red ink or black — or suppose he 
had it in Sympathetic, so that he could draw me out when 

* As a boy, my father smoked a demon on the staircase ceiling, 
near his bedroom door, to frighten his brother. Unfortunately, he 
forgot that he had done so, and, when he went to bed, succeeded in 
terrifying himself into fits almost — while his brother had not observed 
the picture. — T. H. 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



325 



lie liked ? Would he choose it on white pnper, or tinted, or 
embossed, or on common brown paper, like Maroncelli's ? 
Would he like it without my name to it, as somebody 
favoured me lately with his autograph in an anonymous 
letter? Would he rather it were like Guy Faux's 
to Lord Monteagle (not Spring Rice), in a feigned hand? 
Would he relish it in the aristocratic style, i. e., partially 
or totally illegible ? Would he like it (in case he should n't 
like it) on a slate ? With such a maze to wander in, if I 
should not take the exact course you wish, you must 
blame the short and insufficient clue you have afforded 
me. In the meantime, as you have not forwarded to me 
a tree or a table — a paving-stone or a brick-wall — a 
looking-glass or a window — a tea-board or a silver 
plate — a bill-stamp or a back-kitchen door, I presume to 
conclude that you want only a common pen-ink-and-paper 
autograph, and in the absence of any particular direc- 
tions for its transmission, for instance by a carrier pigeon 
— or in a fire-balloon — or set adrift in a bottle — or per 
waggon — or favoured by Mr. Waghorn — or by tele- 
graph : I think the best way will be to send it to you in 
p7'int. 

I am, Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Thomas Hood. 

The following notes were taken from a book, in which 
my father wrote the title " The Cub's Head," evidently 
the memoranda for the " Lion's Head " of " The Lon- 
don." 

After the names of several MSS., with commentaries 



326 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



on them, comes that of his own Sentimental Journey, 
under which is added: 

"N. B. I cannot roar with my own head in my 
Mouth ! 

" Somerset House pictures, a crititique not pro- 
fessing the Artist so much as the past — not to pretend 
to say that " this is well impasted, that is well scumbled," 
but this we do pretend to judge, as that upon which 
every one may naturally sit in judgment, the conception, 
the composition, and the effect, which is intended ; and 
what is, and what is not, realised : and with this special 
observance, rather to praise what is good, than to look 
out for defects. 

" Shakespeare's Ghost correcting the cross-readings of 
his plays. 

" To write a series of papers called " The Charities of 
Nature," of which the spirit shall be Philosophic and 
Philanthropic. The enthusiasm founded upon General 
Benevolence and love of one's kind. The life of one 
turned Timon, a very child in heart, but a man in head. 
The count of Death, — Streetwalkers, — Poets." 

With this extract written in 1821, I close the Re- 
mains ; no other could show more clearly how from his 
earliest connection with literature, my father had laid 
before himself the mission of real human affection, char- 
ity, and pity, which at last found utterance in the " Song 
of the Shirt," the " Lay of the Labourer," and the 
" Bridge of Sighs," — a mission that was only ended by 
the fulfilment of his own prophecy, written in this same 
year (1821). The cheerful " Hope" he then so touch- 
ingly addressed, never deserted him, through many years 



MEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD. 



327 



of bitter toil and suffering : and could fitly close his 
weary eyes with the promise of — 

" The peace and bliss beyond the grave ! " 

There the Poet, whose faith and love had indeed lent 
him the " skylark's wing," to soar above his own pain 
and weakness, and sing of Hope and Consolation to all 
other human sufferers, rests at length, — dropping down 
with feeble quivering wings, but singing to the last, on 
the lowly green nest of that earth he loved so well. And 
we may surely humbly believe that — 

" Another life-spring there adorns 
Another youth, without the dread 
Of cruel care, whose crown of thorns 
Is here for manhood's aching head. 
Oh ! there are realms of welcome day, 
A world where tears are wiped away ! 
Then be thy flight among the Skies : 

Take, then, oh ! take the skylark's wing, 
And leave dull earth, and heavenward rise 
O'er all its tearful clouds, and sing 
On skylark's wing ! " 



THE END. 



Cambridge : Stereotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelo-w, & Co.